Brazil pays off most debt to int’l organizations as Bolsonaro’s mandate ends

Brasilia, Dec 26 (EFE).- The Brazilian government has paid off most of its debt to international organizations, including the United Nations, over the past week – the last week of President Jair Bolsonaro’s mandate – before the deadline that would have deprived the country of its vote in some of those forums, the government said Monday.

The payment was announced on Monday by the Foreign Ministry in a statement in which it thanked the Economy Ministry for freeing up 4.6 billion reais (about $885 million) to fulfill its financial commitments to the multilateral entities and international banks.

“The Brazilian government spared no effort to resolve the chronic payment irregularity and the debt accumulated from earlier times,” the Foreign Ministry said in its statement.

Despite the fact that the statement attributed the debt to prior governments, most of the outstanding debt has accumulated over the past four years of the ultrarightist Bolsonaro’s term in office, with the president on a number of occasions harshly criticizing international organizations like the UN and the World Health Organization.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the funds released by the Economy Ministry allow Brasilia to pay “almost all” of the country’s debt to international organizations and strengthens Brazil’s position within the multilateral system and international community.

According to the report presented last week by the transition team of President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s debt to international organizations had risen to some 5.5 billion reais (about $1.058 billion).

The transition team advising Lula, who will begin his third non-consecutive presidential term on Jan. 1, warned that the delay in paying off Brazil’s debt threatened to leave the country without a vote in entities like the UN Security Council, a temporary seat on which it currently holds.

According to the transition team’s final report, the sizable debt “represents a serious loss for the country’s image and for its capacity for action, and significantly compromises its foreign policy.”

“Brazil can be excluded from some entities. It’s a high debt for which there are no reserved funds in the 2023 budget,” the coordinator of the transition team, ex-Sen. Aloizio Mercadenta, said at the time.

One of the biggest elements of Brazil’s debt, amounting to about $300 million up through September, was with the UN, the rules and regulations of which hold that a country will lose its right to vote in the international body’s committees and other entities if it becomes more than two years in arrears regarding its required contributions to the international body.

EFE –/bp

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