Biden-Lula meeting: war in Ukraine on discussion menu

This meeting scheduled for Washington on Friday between the Presidents of the United States and Brazil is an opportunity for Lula to assert the roots of the Latin American left to land as a mediator in this conflict.

by Bruno Meyerfeld (Rio de Janeiro, correspondent)

On paper, these two leaders have everything, in theory, to get along. Joe Biden and Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva are united by their age (respectively 80 years and 77 years), their political camp (the left center) and their victory against the far right (against Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro). The American and the Brazilian lead comparable countries, by their size and their history. Their first meeting, Friday February 10 in Washington, therefore seems to be under the best auspices.

For his coming to the White House, Lula has planned a substantial delegation. He will be accompanied by his foreign ministers, the economy, the environment, as well as the first lady, “Janja”. His agenda is loaded: in addition to the interview with Joe Biden in the Oval Office, the president of Brazil must meet with his friend and left senator Bernie Sanders, as well as with several union leaders of the United States. >

A shadow hangs over this beautiful painting: war in Ukraine. The conflict that is played almost 8,000 kilometers from Washington should be on the menu for discussions between Lula and Biden. In question: the controversial positions of the Brazilian president on a subject in the process of becoming a stumbling block in his relationship with Western countries.

Since the start of the conflict, Lula has never sent a message of support to President Volodymyr Zelensky, any more than to the Ukrainians. While condemning the violation of international law, he continued to tackle NATO, accused of “assumes [r] the right to install military bases in the vicinity of another country “. The war could easily be resolved in Brazil “at the table by taking a beer,” he said on March 30, 2022, a month after the start of the invasion of Russian troops.


The critical point had been reached in May 2022 in an interview with Time magazine. “This guy is also responsible for the war as Putin,” Lula said about Volodymyr Zelensky, arguing that “a war never has a single culprit”. And to add: “It looks like he is part of a show. He’s on TV morning, noon and evening. (…) We should tell him seriously:” You are a good artist, but we are not going Make a war so that you can show yourself. “”

These statements have repulsed the Ukrainians and worried a number of Westerners. Since then, Lula has been more measured but has hardly changed line. Receiving the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, in Brasilia, the president of Brazil, which announced his refusal to provide ammunition for German tanks in Ukraine at the end of January. “Brazil is a country of peace,” eluded Lula, qualifying the Russian invasion of “error” but adding that reason at the origin of the war “rest (Ait) to clarify”.

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/Media reports cited above.