Egyptian Foreign Minister Discusses Middle East in Brazil and Meets with Lula

By Dialogo
July 31, 2009

The Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, met with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and with his Brazilian counterpart, Celso Amorim, during a visit to Brazil in which he discussed peace in the Middle East and both foreign ministers repeated their call for Israel to declare a moratorium on settlement creation and expansion. The Egyptian foreign minister indicated that President Hosni Mubarak is sure to visit Brazil before the end of the year, at Lula’s invitation. Amorim explained that Brazil supports a two-state solution for peace in the region, with Israel as one state and the other an “economically viable and socially real, not amputated” Palestine “without restrictions,” something that would require a moratorium on settlement expansion. Ahmed Aboul Gheit made the same demand, calling for a clear and definitive signal by Israel with regard to the process and a moratorium on settlement activity. “Brazil can play a role in (the peace negotiations in the Middle East) because it has economic and political weight,” the Egyptian said. The visit by Egypt’s chief diplomat comes a week after the arrival in Brazil of the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who suggested that the South American country increase its participation in dialogue in the region, given its good relations with the Arab countries. He also suggested that Brazil contribute to convincing Iran to abandon its nuclear program. Lieberman also met with Lula. Brazil, which is expecting a visit from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shortly, indicated that it would be interested in having a role in the peace process in the region, following a trip by Amorim to the region at the end of 2008.