Brazil president meets UAE leader after China visit

AFP , Saturday 15 Apr 2023

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met the leader of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates on Saturday as he arrived after a two-day visit to China.

This handout image provided by the UAE s Presidential Court on April 15, 2023, shows UAE President S
This handout image provided by the UAE s Presidential Court on April 15, 2023, shows UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan abd Brazil s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (R) isnpecting the honour guard during an official reception at Qasr al-Watan in Abu Dhabi. AFP


UAE president Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan greeted Lula at the presidential palace in Abu Dhabi, where a 21-gun salute rang out and formation jets trailed Brazil's national colours.

Lula, who returned to power in January after two terms as president between 2003 and 2010, was played the Brazilian national anthem and inspected an honour guard.

He was due to attend an "iftar" dinner -- the daily fast-breaking meal during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan -- and will leave early on Sunday, officials said.

The strategically located Gulf monarchy is Brazil's second-largest trading partner in the Middle East, according to the official WAM news agency.

Bilateral trade excluding oil products totalled more than four million dollars last year, representing a 32-percent rise from 2021, WAM said.

In Beijing, where Lula sought to consolidate economic ties with Brazil's main trading partner, he said his country was "back on the international stage" and ready to mediate an end to Russia's war in Ukraine.

Lula also accused the United States of "encouraging" the war and said it should "start talking about peace".

Both China and Brazil have refused to join Western nations in imposing sanctions on Moscow for its invasion, and there are concerns in the West that both potential mediators are overly cosy with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The UAE has maintained a neutral stance in the conflict.

Its financial hub Dubai has attracted Russian professionals and businesspeople fleeing the impact of Western sanctions since the invasion in February 2022.

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