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Russia’s Lavrov to meet Lula, thanks Brazil on Ukraine

#Russias #Lavrov #meet #Lula #Brazil #Ukraine

Russia’s foreign minister thanked Brazil Monday for seeking to mediate peace talks on Ukraine ahead of a meeting with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose statements on the conflict have dismayed some in the West.

The minister, Sergei Lavrov, who is visiting Brazil at the start of a Latin American tour, is expected to discuss the war with Lula, whose office confirmed the two would meet Monday evening.

Lula is pushing for talks to end the Ukraine conflict, but faces mounting concern over what some in the United States and Europe see as his anti-Western stances, including his accusation that Washington is “encouraging” the war.

“We are grateful to our Brazilian friends for their clear understanding of the genesis of the situation (in Ukraine). We are grateful for their desire to contribute to finding ways of settling this situation,” Lavrov said after meeting his Brazilian counterpart, Mauro Vieira, in Brasilia.

“We are interested in resolving the conflict as soon as possible,” Lavrov said.

But he added that any solution would have to be based on “multipolarity,” accusing the West of “trying to dominate the international arena.”

Lula is fresh off a trip to China and the United Arab Emirates, during which he raised eyebrows in the West by accusing the United States of “encouraging the war” in Ukraine. He also said the United States and Europe “need to start talking about peace,” and that Kyiv shares the blame for the conflict.

Brazil has not joined Western nations in imposing sanctions on Russia for its invasion, and has refused requests to supply ammunition to Ukraine.

Lavrov’s trip comes after Lula’s top foreign policy adviser, Celso Amorim, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in March to discuss opening peace talks.

Brazil is Lavrov’s first stop on a weeklong Latin American tour that will also include Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba — countries whose leftist governments have hostile relations with the United States.

Lavrov and Vieira said their talks had also focused on energy and trade.

About a quarter of agricultural powerhouse Brazil’s fertilizer imports come from Russia.

The two countries engaged in a record $9.8 billion in bilateral trade last year.

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