White House coy about potential Biden-Bolsonaro meeting

biden UN General Assembly. Photo: Loey Felipe/UN Photo
UN General Assembly. Photo: Loey Felipe/UN Photo

After his opening speech at the UN General Assembly tomorrow, President Jair Bolsonaro expects to meet his American counterpart Joe Biden for the first time in the corridors of UN headquarters. But Mr. Biden might not be that keen on shaking the hand of Brazil’s far-right leader. 

When asked by The Brazilian Report about a potential meeting between the presidents of the Americas’ two biggest democracies, the White House simply said it has “nothing to announce.”

Mr. Bolsonaro will give the assembly’s opening address and will be followed by the U.S. president. The Brazilian delegation is hoping for a handshake photo-op, but their efforts have so far been in vain.

The U.S. Department of State justifies Mr. Biden’s lack of bilateral talks on Covid restrictions. The fact that Mr. Bolsonaro is reportedly unvaccinated may be considered an additional risk. “Leaders have to be responsible and they have to take responsibility for their actions and ensure that their actions do not lead to jeopardizing the health and safety of the people of New York, of all of the participants here at the United Nations,” said U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, without mentioning any leader by name.