- April 15, 2023

US should stop ‘encouraging’ war in Ukraine, says Brazil’s Lula

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks during a news conference, in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Brazil’s president said Saturday that the United States should stop “encouraging war” in Ukraine, as he wrapped a state visit to China in which he has strengthened economic ties with his country’s main trading partner.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva used his trip to push the message that “Brazil is back” as a key player on the global stage — and to warn that the South American country’s deepening relations with China were non-negotiable.

Lula was headed on Saturday to the United Arab Emirates for a one-day official visit, and will meet his counterpart Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

During the trip to China, the left-wing leader lashed out at the power of the US dollar and the IMF, and met representatives from Chinese tech giant Huawei, which has been effectively shut out of the US market.

“The United States needs to stop encouraging war and start talking about peace. The European Union needs to start talking about peace,” Lula told reporters in Beijing.

In that way, the international community will be able to “convince” Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky that “peace is in the interest of the whole world”, he said, before leaving for the United Arab Emirates.

Brazil’s President, who returned to power in January after serving two terms between 2003 and 2010, met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Friday.

The leaders called on developed countries to keep their promise to provide 100 billion dollars a year to the poorest countries to fight against the effects of climate change.

Lula is carrying out a delicate balancing act as he also seeks closer ties with Washington. His visit, which included an economic agenda in Shanghai and a more political one in Beijing, came after a meeting with US President Joe Biden in February.

Unlike Western powers, neither China nor Brazil has imposed sanctions against Moscow over Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Both seek to position themselves as mediators to achieve peace in the conflict, which is still raging in Ukraine’s east.

Before the trip, Lula had proposed creating a group of countries to mediate in the war, and said he would discuss this in Beijing.

Asked about the progress of this initiative after his conversation with Xi, Lula did not give details.

“It is important to have patience” to talk with Putin and Zelensky, he said.

“But above all, it is necessary to convince the countries that are supplying weapons, encouraging the war, to stop.”

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