Today’s podcast: Lula loves Hamas.
Lula da Silva wants Hamas and Hezbollah in Mid East negotiations table
Brazilian president Lula da Silva said he is willing and available to begin talks with the Palestine Hamas organization, as well as Lebanon’s Hezbollah and even Iran, to reach peace in the Middle East.
Britain pressures Brazil to back Iran sanctions
Britain piled extra pressure on Brazil Tuesday to drop its support of Iran and back sanctions against Tehran in a UN Security Council vote expected within a month or two.
A senior Foreign Office official, Nicholas Hopton, outlined the “very direct message” he was taking to Brasilia on the matter, in comments to reporters late Monday in Sao Paulo.
“This is a crucial moment for Brazil to stand up and be counted and show that it is ready to take on the responsibilities of a Security Council member and to take the difficult decision to support sanctions,” he said.
His pointed visit came on the heels of similarly urgent entreaties to Brazil earlier this month by Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Brazil, which became a temporary UN Security Council member this year, rebuffed those demands, saying Iran should be given more negotiating room to allay Western fears it was building a nuclear arsenal.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has gone to great lengths to build warm relations with Iran, even hosting a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year — and planning a trip to Tehran himself on May 15.
Andres Oppenheimer talks about Lula’s bid for head of the UN:
Some recent snubs to U.S. foreign policy
Feb. 25: Syrian President Bashar Assad appears with Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, defying U.S. calls to loosen ties with Tehran and the militants.
March 3: President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil speaks against Iran sanctions during a visit by Hillary Clinton.
March 9: Israel, during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden to promote the peace process, announces plan to build homes in disputed East Jerusalem.
March 14: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao calls U.S. currency policy ‘trade protectionism’ and says an Obama meeting with the Dalai Lama and U.S. arms sales to Taiwan ‘violated China’s territorial integrity.’
March 18: Vladimir Putin, during a Clinton visit, says Russia will help Iran launch its first nuclear-power plant this summer.
Lula visits the Palestinians