President Lula da Silva appears intent on trying to get a group of countries behind him to broker peace in Ukraine.
President Lula da Silva appears intent on trying to get a group of countries behind him to broker peace in Ukraine.

Brazil president’s remarks on Ukraine: “no issue for Portugal” – minister

“Portugal’s position on Russia’s invasion is clear”

With a lot of reaction being generated over comments made by President Lula da Silva about Ukraine ahead of his visit later this week to Portugal, foreign affairs minister João Gomes Cravinho has sought to dial down the tension.

Portugal’s position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is clear – thus the Brazilian president’s statements “do not constitute an embarrassment for Portugal”.

“It is no embarrassment at all”, said Gomes Cravinho today. “How can we be embarrassed by what are the positions of others? We could be embarrassed with our own positions. But our positions are clear.” 

And “the observation that Portuguese foreign policy and Brazilian foreign policy are not identical is not a surprise to anyone,” the head of diplomacy added.   

Asked whether it made sense to consider possible changes to the programme of Lula da Silva’s visit, namely the official 25th of April ceremonies – bearing in mind the way in which the president of Brazil expressed his position on the conflict in Ukraine – the foreign affairs minister said that “Portuguese foreign policy does not accommodate” party-political positions.

“We have a foreign policy that is national. We have a very important tradition of convergence between the main parties in matters of foreign policy and we will not allow this tradition to be broken by issues of a cyclical party-political nature.” 

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva argued on Saturday, at the end of a visit to the People’s Republic of China, that the United States should stop “encouraging war” in Ukraine and the European Union should “start talking about peace”.

“The United States must stop encouraging war and start talking about peace, the European Union must start talking about peace,” he told journalists in Beijing before leaving for the United Arab Emirates.

Previously, in Brasilia, the president suggested Ukraine could cede Crimea “in the interests of tranquility”.

But for the Portuguese foreign affairs minister, it is necessary “not to confuse” relations between states, referring to Portugal and Brazil, stressing that “relations are deep” and “200 years old” and have already been through “many moments of great diversity and the current situation”.

Gomes Cravinho revealed that issues related to the invasion of Russia will be addressed with the Brazilian head of State. 

“Portugal’s position [on Ukraine] is very clear and on the position of the president of Brazil we will certainly have the opportunity to hear President Lula in the proper framework: at the meeting with the President of the Portuguese Republic (Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa), at the meeting with the prime minister (António Costa) and at the multiple moments of his visit, and we do not make this any kind of drama,” Gomes Cravinho concluded.

On the possible trip of former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro to Portugal for the upcoming ‘conference of the right’ organised by CHEGA, the foreign affairs minister said he officially has no information, stressing that, from a protocol point of view, the Portuguese state has no obligations with regard to former heads of state.

Gomes Cravinho was speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the opening of the Portugal-Germany Forum on the theme: Digitalisation: Global and Bilateral Perspective.

The meeting takes place today at the Higher Institute of Economics and Management (ISEG) in Lisbon and is attended by Anna Luhrmann, the German minister for European Affairs and Climate.

Source material: LUSA