Lula’s ally meets with Europeans and defends China as a mediator in Ukraine


Main adviser to former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) for international affairs, former foreign minister Celso Amorim met on the 28th with a group of European diplomats to present what would be the general lines of a third party’s foreign policy. PT’s mandate.

Amorim traveled to Brasília to participate in a meeting organized by the French diplomatic representation, led by ambassador Brigitte Collet. In addition to the French, the head of the European Union delegation in Brazil, Ignacio Ibáñez, and representatives of the other European missions in Brasilia participated.

The conversation took place in a context in which Lula leads the polls for voting intentions, with a 19-point advantage over Jair Bolsonaro (PL), according to the latest Datafolha survey. Some European governments — notably that of Paris, host of the meeting — still have a history of conflict with the current president.

When contacted, the French embassy in Brazil declined to comment.

According to confidential reports, the former Foreign Minister began his presentation by pointing out that he is not a PT leader and that he did not participate in the elaboration of the guidelines of Lula’s government plan. Therefore, he would not speak on behalf of the former president or the campaign.

The assessment among those present, however, is that Amorim will be one of the voices most heard by PT on international issues in a possible new government — no matter who is in Itamaraty.

One of the points discussed with the Europeans was the War in Ukraine, a central topic on the European Union’s agenda, which supports the military resistance led by Volodymyr Zelensky against Russia – even amid tensions and signs of fatigue.

In March, Lula’s interview with Time magazine caused unease, after the PT said that the Ukrainian leader was as responsible for the situation as Vladimir Putin and that the US and EU stimulated the conflict.

Also according to reports, at the meeting Amorim said that Russia needs to be criticized for having crossed a red line by invading territory without authorization from the United Nations, but called the West’s strategy of weakening Moscow through sanctions “extremely dangerous”. “Bolsonaro has already criticized the mechanism.

Participants at the meeting told the Sheet that Amorim argued that it is necessary to have a dose of “political realism” and to find a mediator with persuasive power on both sides. Role, according to him, that could be played by China. Beijing signed, before the conflict, an “unlimited partnership” with Russia, in a move criticized by the US, which is waging a Cold War 2.0 with the Asian power.

Those present also wanted to know the former chancellor’s opinion on the agreement between the EU and Mercosur. Signed in 2019, the treaty is blocked mainly because of criticism from Europeans such as France of Bolsonaro’s environmental agenda. For the Brazilian government, the Paris position is labeled as agricultural protectionism.

Europeans were apprehensive about Lula’s recent statements. On a trip to the continent in November, PT defended the reformulation of the trade agreement.

According to people in the audience, Amorim moderated this speech: he defended that the treaty needs to go through “reflections and adjustments” that preserve conditions for the industrial and technological development of Mercosur members.

He also warned that there can be no rush, defending that the agreement not be signed before the beginning of a possible new government – the argument being that a text signed still in Bolsonaro’s administration would have “defect of origin”.

The former minister also addressed historic claims by the Itamaraty, such as the reform of the UN Security Council. According to him, the collegiate structure has not been effective in solving global challenges.

Amorim detailed his vision of Europe’s role for Brazil, stating that the EU has a strategic role on the global stage, and can serve as a balance point in a world increasingly divided by the US-China dispute.

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