BRASILIA – Israeli President Shimon Peres on Wednesday invited Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to join the Middle East peace process, at the same time that the South American leader asked to hold a dialogue with “all” actors in the conflict, including Iran.
“Come, Mr. President, and light the light of peace in the Middle East,” Peres told Lula during a joint press conference in Brasilia after a private meeting.
Lula, in turn, responded that all countries in the region “can count on Brazil for the construction of an enduring peace, the positive repercussions of which will transcend the borders of the Middle East and will benefit all mankind.”
The Brazilian leader, however, said that peace will not be possible “without concessions” and without a dialogue among all parties involved in the conflict.
Lula, who will receive in Brasilia next week Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, and three days later will host Iranian President Mahmoud Admadinejad, said that “if there is no discussion with all the political and religious forces,” any negotiation process “will transform itself into a friends’ club.”
The Brazilian president defended his intention to speak with Ahmadinejad in the face of criticism from opposition politicians and Jewish organizations.
Lula insisted that peace will only be achieved through a “dialogue with everyone” and he confirmed that as long as people are talking with one another “a word or a comma that serves to build peace can be extracted,” which “would be impossible” if one or another interlocutor is isolated.
Peres, in turn, praised “the stance against terrorism and against the threats of other countries” maintained by Brazil and repeated that Israel is ready to resume peace negotiations with the Palestinians and with Syria.
He did not, however, make any allusion to Iran or to Ahmadinejad, whom he called a “threat to peace” in a speech he gave Tuesday before the Brazilian Congress on the first day of his official visit to the country.
After meeting with Lula, Peres was scheduled to travel to Sao Paulo, where on Thursday he will participate in the closing events of a seminar that will bring together businessmen from the two countries. EFE