Lula, Scholz discuss trade deal, Ukraine war, Amazon protection

Brasilia, Jan 30 (EFE).- The leaders of Brazil and Germany on Monday exchanged views on the European Union-Mercosur free trade agreement, the war in Ukraine and the protection of the Amazon.

In Brasilia, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva received Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the first foreign leader to make an official visit to the country since Lula’s Jan. 1 inauguration.

During a joint press conference, the Brazilian president was emphatic regarding the need for the ratification of the trade deal signed between the EU and the Mercosur South American trade bloc in 2019, but said he has some objections to what was agreed.

He explicitly referred to the chapter on government purchases, in which he implied that the interests of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay were not fully considered.

“Something will have to be changed,” Lula said, adding that the issue of government purchases is important for developing countries, because “it is a way of making small and medium-sized businesses grow.”

He promised to discuss the issue with the other Mercosur partners and said he was convinced that a proposal would be presented to the EU in the coming months.

The German leader was wrapping up a tour that had previously taken him to Chile and Argentina where he also learned of President Alberto Fernández’s desire to finalize the agreement as soon as possible.

Regarding the war in Ukraine, Lula said that Russia “made the classic mistake of invading another country’s territory,” but suggested some responsibility also on the part of Ukraine, since “when one won’t, two won’t fight,” and proposed creating a group of countries to negotiate a peace agreement.

Scholz avoided commenting on this, saying that the war was caused by a flagrant violation of international law and international order and stressed that democracies of the world must unite to prevent pecking order from being imposed.

In this regard, Lula expressed his opposition to the shipment of arms to Ukraine and said that it is necessary for the world to work for peace.

He suggested that “a group of countries be created” to promote dialogue between Ukraine and Russia and proposed that it be made up of Germany, France and the United States, among others, and with Brazil, China and India as possible mediators.

He was also emphatic about the role that China should play and said that he will discuss the issue with President Xi Jinping during his visit to Beijing in March.

“It has a very important role” and “it is time for the Chinese government to put its hands in the dough,” Lula declared in defense of a proposal for peace, which Scholz also refrained from commenting on.

The greatest unity between the pair occurred in the environmental field, in which Germany announced an initial and “immediate” donation of 35 million euros (about $38 million) to strengthen the protection of the Amazon, as well as a commitment to work with Brazil to develop clean energy.

Scholz said he was “excited” about Brazil’s new environmental policies, which he said would allow accelerating a pact that is “of interest to both regions.”

He said he appreciated the determination of the new Brazilian government to rigorously combat the climate crisis and expressed his “joy” at having “Brazil back” on the international scene, alluding to the isolation that the country suffered during the term of the now former president, the far-right Jair Bolsonaro. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button