German Chancellor Olaf Scholz bit the dust Monday in Brasilia when President Luiz Inàcio Lula da Silva refused to support Ukraine even verbally and rejected the European leader's invitation to join his Climate Club initiative. Furthermore, Lula also turned down a German request to send ammunition to Kyiv.
“Brazil has no interest in passing on ammunition so that it will be used in the war,” Lula said during a press conference at the Planalto Palace. Instead, he proposed the creation of a forum of countries to promote dialogue and the search for peace between Russia and Ukraine.
In Lula's view, it is necessary to create a club of people who want to achieve peace on the planet. The Workers' Party leader insisted: A club of countries that have to sit at the table with Russia and with Ukraine and find peace because the world is in need of peace. We are in the 21st century and we are in a war that we don't even know why it happened, Lula underlined. It is necessary to build a group that has sufficient strength and that is respected at the negotiating table and that talks with both, he added. The Brazilian leader was even willing, if necessary, to talk personally with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Lula also recanted a statement he made in an interview with Time magazine about the conflict in Ukraine and said that Russia was wrong to invade the neighboring country. At that time I said something that I have heard all my life. When one doesn't want to, two don't fight. Until that moment those who don't live in the region didn't understand very well why that war was existing, he declared. Today I have more clarity of the reason for the war, and I think Russia made the classic mistake of invading another country's territory; therefore, Russia is wrong.
Scholz said that the conflict in Ukraine was one of the topics on the agenda, but added he was pleased to be in Brasilia after the Jan. 8 riots. He also offered Lula and Brazil his full solidarity, and expressed his intention to open a new chapter in the relations between the two countries.
The two leaders discussed a series of issues involving cooperation in areas such as the environment, the defense of democracy, and the resumption of negotiations for a trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Mercosur. Lula also highlighted that the agreement should be closed by the end of the first semester.
The images of the invasion of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Planalto Palace are still very present in my memory and leave us deeply saddened, Scholz told Lula. Brazilian democracy is strong and has managed to resist, he also pointed out.
Scholz also praised the two countries' common agendas on climate change, defense of tropical forests, and renewable energy production, while celebrating Lula's commitment to protecting the Amazon, which was good news for all of us.
Brazil has a fundamental role in leading the transition to green energies, Scholz also noted.
Regarding the EU-Mercosur Agreement, Scholz explained that Lula and I concur that the agreement is important for both regions and we want progress on this issue.
We are going to close this agreement by the end of the semester, he said. We have a lot ahead of us, and not only this agreement, said Lula.
We are very happy that Brazil is back on the world stage [after the Jair Bolsonaro years]. You were missed, Lula, Scholz stressed.
Lula recapped Brazil's intention to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council: It is necessary to tell the United Nations that the geopolitical reality today is no longer that of when it was created, after World War II.
Scholz's visit to Brasilia marked the last stage of the Chancellor's South American tour, after Argentina and Chile.