Presidents Sisi and Lula Da Silva call for immediate ceasefire in Gaza war at presser in Cairo

Radwa ElSayed Hani , Thursday 15 Feb 2024

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and his Brazilian counterpart, Lula da Silva, called for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the release of captives and prisoners held by both sides of the conflict.

A still photo for Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and his Brazilian counterpart Lula da Silva during a joint press conference in Cairo on Thursday 15 February 2024.


They also called for allowing more humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza to relieve Palestinian civilians.

This came during a joint press conference after the two leaders held a summit at the Ittihadiya Presidential Palace in Cairo.

During the press conference, President El-Sisi praised Brazil for being among the first countries to recognize the Palestinian state.

Both leaders stressed the need to find a post-war political solution for the Palestinian cause to establish an independent Palestinian state on the 4 June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

For his part, President Lula da Silva said his visit comes at a critical time marked by various conflicts.

"Wars sometimes erupt because of insane decisions," said the Brazilian president.

In this regard, Lula da Silva said: "There is no justification for the Israeli reaction in Gaza, which is killing women and children."

The war on Gaza "is unprecedented at any moment in the history of the world," he noted.

In addition, Lula da Silva said the United Nations lacks sufficient power to stop the war in Gaza, noting that "Israel has violated all resolutions, laws, and international norms in its aggression against the strip."

"There is no justification for the Israeli response to Hamas' attack on 7 October," he said.

"Under the pretext of fighting Hamas, Israel is killing women and children in an unprecedented way," Lula da Silva said at the press conference.

During the conference, the Brazilian president called for abolishing the Veto power that is used by a few countries in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to enable the UN to assume its responsibilities in stopping the war in Gaza.

He also demanded more African and Latin representation in the Security Council.

The Brazilian president urged the UN Security Council members to defend international peace rather than war, emphasizing the necessity of reaching a ceasefire in Gaza to deliver aid to the Palestinians.

Moreover, he affirmed that peace in the region would only be achieved through establishing an independent Palestinian state.

Lula da Silva concluded by thanking President El-Sisi for facilitating the safe evacuation of 2,000 Brazilian nationals who were stranded in Gaza at the start of the Israeli aggression on the strip.

The Brazilian president arrived in Cairo on Wednesday afternoon for a two-day official visit on Wednesday.

He visited the Pyramids of Giza and the Grand Egyptian Museum on the first day of the visit.

This is Lula da Silva's second official visit to Egypt and the first since returning to the Brazilian presidency last year.

It coincides with the centennial anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Egypt and Brazil.

The Brazilian president visits the Arab League headquarters in Cairo later on Thursday.

He will leave Cairo for Addis Ababa to participate as a guest in the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union, held on 16-17 February.

Egypt-Brazil cooperation

Before the press conference, El-Sisi and his Brazilian counterpart attended the inking of two memorandums of understanding (MoU) between the two countries.

The first memorandum deals with cooperation between Egypt and Brazil in research, technology, and educational services, while the second concerns importing meat products from Brazil.

It is worth mentioning that Egypt is one of the leading importers of Brazilian meat globally.

During the press conference, El-Sisi and Lula da Silva agreed to form a joint higher committee between the two countries to discuss ways of fostering relations and political, economic, and cultural cooperation.

The committee will also discuss cooperation between both countries in industry and agriculture.

Economic cooperation between Brazil and Egypt has witnessed a leap during the past few years thanks to the trade agreements they signed, including the MERCOSUR.

Brazil is Egypt’s largest trade partner in Latin America, according to Brazil's Ambassador to Egypt, Paulino Franco de Carvalho.

De Carvalho added that Egypt is Brazil's fourth-largest trade partner in Africa and the 14th-largest trade partner globally.

Trade exchange between both countries reached around $2.4 billion in the first ten months of 2023, he highlighted.

Former Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry, Neveine Gamea, had said trade exchange volume between the two countries witnessed a remarkable surge, reaching $2.5 billion in 2021, compared to $1.9 billion in 2020, a 30 percent increase. 

Meanwhile, the Brazilian president said he agreed with President El-Sisi to raise bilateral relations to the level of strategic partnership.

"We are keen to support cooperation between both countries in various fields," Lula da Silva said, noting that Egypt's membership in the BRICS represents an opportunity to strengthen the developing countries within the bloc.

Furthermore, the Brazilian President said his country relies on Egypt's support in the upcoming G20 summit to achieve the goals of the initiative of the international coalition to combat starvation, poverty, and climate change.

For his part, President El-Sisi said he looks forward to visiting Brazil in November -- at the invitation of President Lula da Silva -- to attend the G20 summit.

Brazil is the current president of G20, with President Lula da Silva as chair.

The G20 summit for the year 2024 will be held on 18-19 November in Rio de Janeiro.

As president of the G20, Brazil invited Egypt to the summit as a guest country. 

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