LatinNews Daily - 22 May 2023

BRAZIL: Lula continues calls for peace at G7 summit

On 21 May Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva concluded a visit to Japan, where he had been invited as an external partner to the G7 leaders’ summit, where he continued his calls for peace talks between Ukraine and Russia.


Lula has sought to establish Brazil as a potential mediator between Russia and Ukraine but has not endorsed the calls from Ukraine insisting on the country’s territorial integrity as a key condition to any peace deal. However, G7 members are committed to only supporting a peace process after the “complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops”, according to the G7 joint statement. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky made an unannounced visit to Hiroshima where the summit is taking place but did not meet Lula. With Lula having recently sent a representative to visit Kyiv, this missed opportunity to be seen personally talking to Zelensky regarding a potential peace process is a blow to Lula’s efforts to improve Brazil’s standing on the world stage as a credible peacemaker.

  • Speaking to journalists in Hiroshima, US President Joe Biden announced details on a package of up to US$375m of ammunition and equipment for Ukraine’s defence. The G7 joint statement also mentioned increasing sanctions on Russia, pledging to “broaden our actions to ensure that exports of all items critical to Russia’s aggression […] are restricted.” This could prove a point of tension between Brazil and the G7, due to the continued economic cooperation between Brazil and Russia.
  • Brazilian national daily Folha de São Paulo reported that Lula was due to meet Zelensky in the afternoon of 21 May, but the Ukrainian president never showed up. Zelensky later downplayed this at a press conference, attributing the missed appointment with Lula to a scheduling problem.   
  • Zelensky did manage to meet another G7 external partner on 20 May, Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, a member of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) group of developing economies who share Lula’s calls for peace and continue to refuse sending aid or arms to Ukraine.

Looking Ahead: Despite the continued divergence with the G7 over Ukraine, Lula can take away some diplomatic gains from the summit, such as further talks with Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo about setting up an international group to protect rainforests.

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