Brazil’s Lula to meet Sisi on Thursday as part of his 2-day visit to Egypt

Amr Kandil , Tuesday 13 Feb 2024

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will meet with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Thursday, in his first official two-day visit to Egypt since taking office, to discuss the Gaza crisis and cooperation between the two countries.

Brazilian president  Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. AFP
Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. AFP


President Lula’s visit to Egypt is his second official visit to Africa since assuming office in January 2023.

He will depart from Cairo to Ethiopia for a two-day visit to participate as a guest at the 37th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa.

Intensifying dialogue over Gaza crisis

President Lula, an outspoken supporter of the Palestinian cause, has slammed Tel Aviv's war on Gaza over the past four months, saying Israel is “killing innocent people without any criteria.”

Brazil has supported South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

In January, the Brazilian foreign ministry called for "full and immediate" compliance with the court’s decisions to prevent genocide in Gaza.

Brazil also backs the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Cairo had facilitated the evacuation of Brazilian families who were stranded in Gaza at the beginning of the ongoing war.

In October 2023, El-Sisi and Lula discussed in a phone conversation ways to end the Gaza war, stressing the importance of providing access to humanitarian aid for the people in Gaza.

They also agreed to maintain regular consultations on ongoing crises, according to the Brazilian presidency.

“Egypt is an important player in the region. The dialogue towards repatriation of the Brazilians took place at various levels. This circumstance made the relationship even more important,” said Ambassador Carlos Duarte, secretary of Africa and the Middle East at the Brazilian foreign ministry, in a press briefing in February.

Strong bilateral relations

In 2024, Egypt and Brazil are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations.

The Brazilian government described, in a press release on 7 February, Brazil’s plan to expand relations with Egypt as “one of Brazilian diplomacy’s strategic actions.”

Moreover, Egypt is one of Brazil's main trading partners in Africa, especially in agricultural products, while Brazil is Egypt’s largest trade partner in Latin America.

Trade between the two countries totaled around $2.4 billion in the first 10 months of 2023, according to Brazil’s Ambassador to Egypt Paulino Franco de Carvalho.

In its statement, the Brazilian government said Egypt is expected to soon approve new beef importation from Brazil.

Egypt is a major beef importer from Brazil, the world’s largest exporter and producer of halal beef and chicken. It relies on Brazil for around 60 percent of its beef imports, Ehab Saber, agriculture minister’s assistant, said in 2023.

Egypt also opened its market to several Brazilian products in 2023, including fish, poultry, cotton, gelatin, and collagen, the Brazilian government noted.

Egypt and Brazil are also expected to discuss a new air route between Cairo and São Paulo, the Brazilian government added.

Cooperation at int'l forums

In January, Egypt officially became a member of the BRICS group of major emerging economies, with Brazil being one of its founders.

Egypt aims to increase its investment, boost foreign flows, and foster economic cooperation with member states in the BRICS.

Egypt's trade exchange with BRICS members in 2022 and 2023, including both founding and new members, amounts to $46.673 billion, which is more than one-third of the country's total external trade

Egypt participated as a guest in G20 meetings per an invitation from Brasilia during the Brazilian presidency of the group in 2024.

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