U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis began a South American swing Monday with discussions in Brasília on possible re-opening of Brazil’s Alcantara rocket launching site, according to press reports. Mattis met with Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes Ferreira and with Defense Minister Joaquim Silva e Luna. Silva e Luna said discussions about re-opening Alcantara “advanced” but with no firm conclusions. He said it will be necessary for Brazil and the United States to sign “technical agreements” first. He said Brazil’s aim is to rent the facility to the U.S. Rental fees could reach as much as $1.5 billion per year, he added. In a Defense Department statement, Mattis said, “We are looking to expand partnerships where it’s mutually beneficial.” Other issues discussed included regional peace-keeping missions and the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
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