Brazil’s Bolsonaro calls for negotiations to end Ukraine war

RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday reiterated his readiness to push ahead with talks to resolve the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, calling for a ceasefire but a waiver of sanctions and economic isolation.

“We have tried to avoid blocking channels of dialogue caused by the polarization surrounding the conflict,” Bolsonaro said, in his address to the UN General Assembly. “The consequences of the conflict have been felt by world prices for food, fuel and other supplies. This impact turns us all against the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The Brazilian president noted that some countries that used to lead in low-carbon emissions have now switched to more polluting energy sources.

Bolsonaro was the first world leader to speak during the debate on the first day of the meeting. Traditionally, US President Joe Biden would speak Monday, but his time has been pushed to Wednesday because of the British queen’s funeral.

The far-right leader, who is seeking re-election next month, also used his speech to promote the achievements of his administration. His speech focused heavily on the economy, which began with a generous welfare program distributed to millions of Brazilians during the pandemic, and was recently extended until December.

“Despite the global crisis, Brazil has reached the end of 2022 with its economy fully recovered,” Bolsonaro said, highlighting falling unemployment and deflation in Latin America’s largest country.

Critics of his government have dismissed his claims that poverty is declining or that much of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest remains pristine.

Recent studies show that food insecurity is on the rise, now surpassing the world average, according to the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a university and consulting organization.

And Deforest rose to its worst level in 15 years. That led to more fires in August than any other month in nearly five years, according to Brazil’s National Space Institute.

Bolsonaro has also dug deep into his main rival, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who leads all polls for a return to the presidency he held from 2003 to 2010. Bolsanaro only released Da Silva’s charges of money laundering and corruption, without saying they were later dropped by the Supreme Court.

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