(MENAFN- Nam News Network)
BRASILIA, Feb 10 (NNN-MERCOPRESS) - Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva planted a tree at the Palestinian Embassy in Brasilia where a group of Arab and Islamic diplomatic missions gathered to pay him a tribute.
“You are planting hope for the Palestinian people,” Palestinian Ambassador Ibrahim Alzeben told the South American leader before all the guests shared dinner.
Lula has a historic bond with the Palestinian cause and is often critical of Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip.
In addition, Finance Minister Fernando Haddad and Vice President Geraldo Alckmin, both of Lebanese descent, joined Lula at the gathering, together with Ministers Mauro Vieira (Foreign Affairs), Ricardo Lewandowski (Justice) and Paulo Pimenta (Communications Secretary). Also attending the event were First Lady Janja da Silva and Lula's advisor and former Foreign Minister Celso Amorim.
The South American leader will be traveling next week to Egypt and Ethiopia to deepen Brazil's political and economic rapprochement with the African continent. He is due in Cairo on Feb. 14 and has a meeting scheduled with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fatah al Sisi the next day.
Lula is scheduled to arrive in Addis Ababa on Feb. 16 to attend the African Union annual assembly on the 17 and 18.
Brazil's Secretary for Africa and the Middle East Carlos Sobral Duarte told reporters that his country was eager to expand its engagements with a region that has been“little explored economically” although it“offers many opportunities for Brazilian companies.”
In his first year in office, Lula relaunched relations with the African continent, a priority in Brazilian foreign policy of his first two governments (2003-2010) that his predecessor, the far-right Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022), neglected.
According to Duarte, Lula's participation in the African Union meeting will allow him to highlight the objectives of the Brazilian presidency of the G20: the fight against poverty, environmental sustainability, and reform of world governance.
On the sidelines of the assembly, Lula is due to meet with UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmud Abbas, at a time when efforts for a cease-fire between Israel and the Islamist movement Hamas continue. - NNN-MERCOPRESS
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