Remarks made on the occasion of President Bolsonaro’s three-day state visit to the UAE.
The UAE is seen by Brazil as a gateway to the Arab world and Asia, a top Brazilian diplomat said, as Abu Dhabi prepares to welcome Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Saturday.
“For Brazil, the UAE is a door and entrance to the Arab world [as a whole], especially the Arabian Gulf region, and Asia,” said Fernando Lus Lemos Igreja, the Brazilian Ambassador to the UAE.
He spoke to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the occasion of President Bolsonaro’s three-day state visit to the UAE.
The president arrives at a very important time as both countries are completing 45 years of diplomatic relations, the ambassador noted.
“Brazil was one of the first countries that recognised the UAE, when it was founded, and we opened our embassy in the UAE 41 years ago,” he said.
It is Bolsonaro’s first state visit to a country in the Arab World. His next visits will be to Saudi Arabia.
This is a reciprocal gesture from Brazil as H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was the first foreign minister from the Arab World to visit in March after Brazilian President came into power in January 2019.
The ambassador said Brazil and the UAE share common views on many issues in multilateral forums.
A bilateral visa exemption agreement signed in 2017, allowing citizens of both countries visa-free travel, starting in June 2018, was a major step, Igreja noted.
“Last year we signed agreements on avoidance of double taxation and facilitating investments,” he added.
As the economic ties are also improving, the relations are expanding to new areas such as science, technology and IT. “We are moving to new levels of cooperation,” he said.
Brazil and the UAE are discussing certain agreements in some important sectors, which may be signed during the president’s visit, Igreja said, without explaining further.
An estimated 10,000 Brazilians live in the UAE; among them 1,600 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructors and their families.
“Most of them are from several parts of Brazil and they are a close-knit community. They know each other very well,” he explained.
Football is another element that brings both countries closer, as there are many Brazilian footballers in the UAE Arabian Gulf League.
The Brazilian national football team will also play against South Korea in the UAE ?on November 18? in a friendly match.
“This will pave the way for more avenues of interactions between both peoples,” the ambassador said.