American president Barack Obama might visit Brazil before the end of the year once the US Senate approves the nomination of Thomas Shannon as ambassador before the Brazilian government, announced the head of the Brazilian diplomatic legation in Washington Antonio Patriota.
"President Obama could visit Brazil at the end of this year or beginning of the following," said Patriota in an interview with influential daily O Estado de S. Paulo.
"The confirmation of Shannon as ambassador in Brasília is the first step" for Obama to visit Brazil following the invitation extended earlier this year by Brazilian president Lula, added Patriota.
The Brazilian president met with Obama last April in Washington and again last July in Italy during the summit of the G8.
Last week when President Obama was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, Lula repeated that his election as US president was in effect "an extraordinary event" and stated that the Nobel was in good hands.
The confirmations of Thomas Shannon as US ambassador and of Arturo Valenzuela as Under Secretary for Hemispheric Affairs have been frozen in the US Senate following objections from Republican Senator Jim de Mint, probably the most conservative lawmaker in the US Congress.
De Mint has questioned the Obama administration foreign policy, particularly concerning Honduras where he, de Mint, is a staunch supporter of de facto president Roberto Micheletti.
According to ambassador Patriota, president Obama would like to tour South America, particularly Brazil and Chile, to meet President Michelle Bachelet before she ends her mandate on March 11.
O Estado reveals that as soon as Shannon is confirmed by the US congress, Bill Burns from the State Department will be flying to Brasília to prepare the trip of State Secretary Hillary Clinton, who will lay the ground for the big meeting.
Lula and Obama have established a close relationship and the US president has gone as far as calling his peer "the most famous politician in the world."