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LATIN AMERICA | 30-01-2023 15:29

Lula receives Scholz on German chancellor's last leg of South American tour

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva received Olaf Scholz on Monday, with the German chancellor becoming the first Western leader to visit Brazil since 2015.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva received German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday, with whom he hopes to discuss the far-right movements in both countries, as well as trade and environmental issues.

Scholz arrived at the Planalto palace at 3.30pm local time (18:30 GMT). He will meet with the leftist leader after a reception ceremony.

It is the first official visit by a German head of government to Brazil since 2015, and the first leader of a Western power to meet Lula since he took office on January 1.

Scholz arrives in Brazil after visiting and meeting with the leaders of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, and Chile, Gabriel Boric.

The aim of his South American tour is to expand bilateral trade, investment flows and project financing in the three countries. After the bilateral meeting, the heads of government will receive businessmen from both countries.

The meetings aim to "deepen the resumption of relations between Brazil and Germany, with an increase in diplomatic dialogue and political, economic and environmental cooperation," the Brazilian presidency said in a statement released on Friday.

Scholz's tour ends in the evening with a dinner at the Itamaraty palace, before returning to Berlin on Tuesday.

Lula hopes to talk to Scholz about the extreme right, which he considers "an international movement" and whose confrontation must be joint, the leftist said in his first interview since taking office in mid-January.

In addition, Lula and Scholz, leaders of the largest economies in Latin America and Europe respectively, will address the trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union, sealed in 2019 after 20 years of negotiations, but without parliamentary approval and with strong criticism from both sides.

Lula considers the conclusion of the agreement "urgent," but argues that it must first be renegotiated with Europe so that Brazil does not have to give up its interest in "re-industrialisation."

Scholz said in Buenos Aires that Berlin's goal is to "reach a quick conclusion."

  

Contribution to the conservation of the Amazon

Another item on the agenda is the resumption of Germany's contribution to the Amazon Rainforest Conservation Fund, announced after Lula's election victory. 

Contributions to the fund had been suspended during the government of Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022), when deforestation reached record levels, generating controversy with European leaders, especially from France and Germany.

Germany's Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Svenja Schulze, announced on Monday Berlin's intention to allocate new funds for the protection of Amazon forests, in addition to the USD $38 million already announced for the Amazon Fund, after meeting in Brasília with the Brazilian Minister of Environment, Marina Silva.

 

–– TIMES/AFP

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