Criticised by Westerners for his recent comments about the war in Ukraine, Brazilian President Lula da Silva on Saturday reaffirmed his refusal to “participate” in the conflict and his willingness to contribute to a “negotiated solution” between Kyiv and Moscow.
“At the same time that my government condemns the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, we defend a negotiated solution to the conflict,” he told reporters after a meeting in Lisbon with his Portuguese counterpart, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
“We urgently need a group of countries to sit down at the table with both Ukraine and Russia." He stressed that “Brazil does not want to participate in the war, Brazil wants to build peace.”
“President Lula believes that the path to a just and lasting peace presupposes a priority to this path of negotiation. The Portuguese position is different: it understands that a possible path to peace presupposes the right for Ukraine to be able to react to the invasion,” Rebelo de Sousa said in response.
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Lula, who is back in power after governing Brazil from 2003 to 2010, wants to put his country back at the centre of world geopolitics and has been trying to play the balancing act since the beginning of his new term.
He caused a stir when he said in Beijing that the US should stop “encouraging war” in Ukraine and that the European Union should “start talking about peace” and that not to do so is "contributing to war."
He reiterated this stance on Saturday in Lisbon, the first day of a four-day state visit to the former coloniser from which Brazil seceded in 1822. The trip will include a visit to Spain early next week. It is Lula's first official trip to Europe since his inauguration in January.