1709771253 Lula and Sanchez demand Israel stop bombing of Gaza which

Lula and Sánchez demand Israel stop bombing of Gaza, which Brazilian calls 'genocide' | Spain

Lula and Sanchez demand Israel stop bombing of Gaza which

The war in Gaza became one of the main topics of the joint press conference between Pedro Sánchez and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on the occasion of a trip by the Spanish president with a clear economic content, intended to support Spanish companies in their attempt to expand in Brazil and gain access to part of the huge of up to 300,000 million euros in public investments that the government of the leader of the Labor Party wants to use. Sánchez represents the clearest position among Europeans calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, which has caused him diplomatic problems with Israel. And Lula goes even further and speaks openly of “genocide” – a word the Spaniard avoided despite being specifically asked to use – and rails against Israel and the UN Security Council, which is also failing to stop the war.

“Israel has the right to defend itself, but with respect for international law. After 30,000 deaths and given the situation in Gaza, which will take decades to recover, there are more than reasonable doubts about Israel's compliance with international humanitarian law. “We propose a peace conference, the urgent end of the violence in Gaza and the recognition of the two states of Israel by the Arab countries and Palestine by the Western world,” Sánchez said at Planalto Palace, home of the Brazilian presidency.

“We need a humanitarian ceasefire now. We can't be algorithms, we have to be people. It is a genocide in which 30,000 people were killed, including 8,000 children. The UN Council must stop this war. More than 30 tons of food cannot arrive. If this is not an inhumane act, what is? The brutality is so great, everyone is horrified, something like this has rarely been seen. Brazil condemned the Hamas terrorist attack, but we cannot stop condemning the actions of the Israeli government. We see 6 or 7 year old children begging for death because they don't want to be amputated without anesthesia. This touches our hearts. “Brazil is fighting for a ceasefire to be declared,” Lula concluded.

Elections in Venezuela

Both presidents also showed a certain closeness on the Venezuela issue and both were very satisfied that Nicolás Maduro had finally set a date for the elections. Although Sánchez was more cautious and limited himself to trusting that the elections would be truly democratic, Lula seemed closer to Maduro. “From Spain we have been defending the elections in Venezuela for many years. We celebrate their convocation and will help celebrate it with the democratic guarantees that the Venezuelan people deserve and need,” concluded Sánchez.

“I hope that these elections are as democratic as possible. Maduro told me that he would convene observers from around the world. I'll wait and see if they are democratic. And I'm just saying that when they didn't let me show up in 2018 [fue encarcelado] I didn't cry, I looked for another candidate. In Brazil, a president who lost the election continues to claim there was fraud, he continues to raise doubts. Venezuela needs democratic elections, and Maduro needs it too. But we need the presumption of innocence. Not all candidates accept defeat, I lost three times and accepted the results calmly, I went home to prepare, I lost again. “Venezuela needs democratic elections to regain the space of international forums and to see the end of the North American blockade of Venezuela, hopefully also of Cuba,” emphasized Lula, which prompted Sánchez to answer that “there are also members in Spain.” The opposition , which determined the election results, is in question.”

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Lula's strategy in Venezuela is to act as a mediator, without appearing loud or strident, so that the Chavista government and the opposition find their own solution. Maduro, who promised Lula in a bilateral meeting last week that he would call elections in the second half of the year, has just set a date. Venezuelans are called to vote on July 28, the birthday of the late Hugo Chávez.

Mercosur-EU agreement

The EU agreement with Mercosur was also strongly represented during the visit. There was a point last December where it was almost finished. All that remained were a few fringes, the advertising and the signature. The Argentine Alberto Fernández was reluctant to sign it because he wanted to leave, but there was no doubt that his successor, the ultra-liberal Javier Milei, would support it. But the final blow came at the end of the year, when farmers' protests broke out in France and Macron's government abandoned the pact as dead and buried. However, both Lula and Sánchez have vehemently defended that the agreement is alive and ready to be signed. “We have not gone backwards, on the contrary, we have never made as much progress as we are now.” We are ready to conclude the agreement with the EU. It happens that France has long had problems with its farmers. But the EU can conclude the agreement without France. You will have to accept it. I regret that we did not complete it when Sánchez was the EU president and I was head of Mercosur. However, the EU needs this agreement, as does Mercosur,” Lula shouted. “We have an obligation to conclude the agreement with Mercosur. It would be good for Mercosur and great for the EU. We are not the problem, I think it would be a change in global geopolitics. “We hope to be able to reach an agreement soon,” Lula supported him.

With the European elections just around the corner, in the middle of the race to re-elect or succeed President Ursula von der Leyen at the head of the Commission and the tractor protest still alive, none of the 27 want to touch the subject. Perhaps in a few months a new opportunity will open up to finally conclude an agreement designed for two decades and agreed five years ago.

But as the EU rolls out environmental measures, threatens sanctions and resolves its internal emergencies, Brazil – Mercosur's largest country – trade with China and the rest of Asia continues to grow. Just look at Brazil's trade balance. The Asian giant replaced the USA as Brazil's first trading partner in 2009. Since then, bilateral trade has quadrupled. And Brazilian exports to China last year were almost equal to the sum of what was sold to the United States, the European Union and Mercosur. And that's without taking into account other powerful markets such as Indonesia, Thailand or Vietnam.

Almost seven years have passed since the last visit of a Spanish president to Brazil, that of Mariano Rajoy, months after the dismissal of Dilma Rousseff that brought the Workers' Party from power. And Spain is the second largest investor in Brazil, particularly in energy, banking, telecommunications and insurance. With around 3.3 billion annual investments, the investment total is estimated at 59 billion dollars.

The two Spanish issues that have had the greatest impact in Brazil in recent years have been the racist insults directed at footballer Vinicius JR, which led to a nationwide confrontation that mobilized President Lula and several of his ministers. The entire case of Dani Alves, from his arrest thanks to a protocol against sexual abuse in the bars that Brazil has implemented to the recent conviction for rape, has received enormous media attention. In addition, Lula has just presented a bill to regulate the work of application drivers, the creation of which was inspired by the Spanish Drivers' Law and tripartite negotiations between the government, companies and unions. The Brazilian president explained at a press conference that Spain is an inspiration for Brazil due to its labor reforms and opened the door to expanding the presence of Spanish companies, after recalling that some of them, such as Telefónica or Banco Santander, have implemented this economic reform in the Giants have one of their largest and most profitable markets in the world. Lula, representative of the classic Latin American left, has always opted for pragmatism and for opening the doors to foreign investment and creating a business-friendly environment. Brazil is growing and Lula likes to remember, as he did in the press conference, that if 15 years ago he owed money to the IMF, now the fund is Brazil's debtor because it lent him money during the worst phase of the financial crisis.

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