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LATIN AMERICA | 16-01-2020 13:53

Bolsonaro praises US support for Brazil's OECD candidacy

Brazilian President would score a major diplomatic victory if country overtakes Argentina as next likely candidate for OECD membership.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday welcomed US backing for the Latin American country's bid to join the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), after Washington previously supported its rival Argentina for the application.

The 64 year old leader reacted after Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo announced the US decision on Twitter late Tuesday, saying it proved Brazil was "building a solid collaboration with the United States,capable of generating short, medium and long term results, for the benefit of Brazil's transformation into the great nation we always wanted to be."

"The news [of US support] was very welcome," Bolsonaro told reporters in Brasilia.

"There are more than 100 requirements to be admitted to the OECD. We are very advanced, even ahead of Argentina," the far-right leader boasted.

Bolsonaro would not be drawn on a timeline for Brazil's inclusion in the group of rich democracies, saying it "depends on other countries."

A US State Department spokesperson confirmed to AFP that Washington "wants Brazil to become the next country to begin the accession process" to the OECD.

Brazilian daily Folha de São Paulo reported Tuesday that Washington had contacted the OECD stating its support for Brazil to be the next country appended to the group.

Bolsonaro's hopes for Brazil to enter the OECD were dealt a blow in October when reports declared Washington had sent a letter to the group backing Argentina and Romania to join. It reportedly did not mention Brazil.

The news at the time undermined Bolsonaro’s claims of close ties with US President Donald Trump, who had previously offered to support Brazil's inclusion.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later reassured Brazil that it still had US backing.

The election victory of President Alberto Fernández and his running mate Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in October may have helped Brazil's cause.

The OECD comprises of 36 countries. In Latin America, only Chile and Mexico are members.

– AFP

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