UN General Assembly: a balancing act for Brazil's Lula da Silva, notably on Ukraine

There will be many absentees at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, which opens this Tuesday, September 19 in New York. Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin or Emmanuel Macron will not be. But Lula da Silva, the Brazilian president, will be there, in the wake of the G77 held in Cuba. His meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is particularly awaited.

Brazilian President Lula da Silva will have a busy schedule throughout the UN General Assembly in New York, September 19-25. He is due to meet his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, on 20th September. REUTERS - ADRIANO MACHADO

By: RFI Follow


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In New York, as is tradition, Lula will be the first head of state to address the opening of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. Throughout this meeting, which is to be held until September 25, the Brazilian will have to find a balance between his role as spokesman for the global South and that of interlocutor of major nations, especially since he is preparing to meet US President Joe Biden, explains Martin Bernard from São Paulo.

Another meeting on his program, unprecedented this time: the one with Volodymyr Zelensky, scheduled for Wednesday. A key meeting that comes after their missed appointment at the G7 summit in May in Hiroshima, Japan. A face-to-face officially failed for an incompatibility of agendas, while relations between the two leaders are complicated.

While he recently condemned the Russian invasion, Lula remains suspected of sympathy with Moscow; Brazil has never imposed financial sanctions on Russia or supplied ammunition to Kiev, and the Brazilian president sparked controversy in April when he said Washington should stop "encouraging war" in Ukraine and that the European Union should "start talking about peace." The Lula-Zelensky meeting will thus be a major point of this UN General Assembly.

Lula still hopes for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council

Lula, who has just stopped in Cuba, will again ask for the lifting of sanctions against Havana and defend African countries, without going into details. He asks his interlocutors in developing countries "not to divide".

The head of state must be wary of overly ideological speeches. Some young left-wing leaders, such as Chile's Gabriel Boric, have already publicly criticized him for his unwavering support for Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

And then there remains the essential battle for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council: Lula will insist on this point again, even if the chances of success seem very slim.

See alsoUN General Assembly: who to represent the new juntas in power in Africa?

(and with AFP)

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Read on on the same topics:

  • UN
  • Brazil
  • Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
  • Ukraine
  • Volodymyr Zelensky
  • United States
  • Joe Biden
  • Diplomacy
  • Chile
  • Gabriel Boric
  • Venezuela
  • Nicolas Maduro