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Brazilian Foreign Minister Carlos Franca described his country’s pragmatic policy towards the rest of the world, noting that Brazil does what is best for its own national interest, which means having a close relationship with USA, Russia and China.
Franca gave an exclusive extensive interview to Fox News Digital during her visit to New York last week. Brazil is chairing the UN Security Council this month. He noted that the focus of the presidency was the consequences war in Ukraine and this will likely include a closed meeting on the consequences of food insecurity caused by the war.
Franca said he understands the criticism of the UN Security Council and its lack of progress towards ending the war, and added that the best way to achieve peace is to intensify dialogue and apply diplomacy to the situation.
Regarding his country’s position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Franca called for an immediate ceasefire and said that “we are on the side of Brazil… Brazil is a global player, so we should not be on the side of one side, Ukraine, or Russia… We we have the right to have our own foreign policy, the one that best suits what we consider our national interests.”
He said his country has a “very balanced position” on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He said that Brazil had criticized the Russians for United Nations Security Councilwhich he said was the right and concrete forum to discuss war, security and peace issues, and questioned the need for other UN bodies to take up the issue.
He said that President Jair Bolsonaro has a good relationship with Russian President Putin and could help if asked to mediate in the world, but he said that Turkey is now a major player in trying to achieve a ceasefire, but Brazil is ready to help. if she is asked.
Franca recently met with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov at the G-20 ministerial meeting in Bali, Indonesia. Asked if he thought Lavrov was ready to end Russia’s war against Ukraine, Franca replied: “I think our conversation was not so frank…but of course I asked him about the possibility of peace.” Franca explained that Brazil is protecting the sovereignty of countries, and that is why an immediate ceasefire is needed, and this will be the first and important step for now.
Brazil is the largest country in South America and has always maintained close ties with the US, but in recent years has developed a very close relationship with Beijing.
Franca noted that China is by far his country’s largest trading partner, and Brazil’s exports to China exceed trade with the United States. As a member of the BRICS group of countries that includes China and Russia, Franca spoke of his country’s close relationship with Beijing.
He praised Beijing’s help during the pandemic: “We have kept our value chains open, we have kept our ports open, we have ensured the continuity of our supplies. We are reliable. ”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that last year Brazil exported to Asia, not counting China and Japan, more than to the European Union. He said it could be a trend that is more focused on Asia, including ASEAN countries and China. He suggested that “if you’re in the Western Hemisphere, perhaps Brazil should be the focus of more American investment.”
Franca also said it is important that more US companies come and invest in Brazil. He pointed to President Bolsonaro’s interview with Tucker Carlson earlier this month, when Bolsonaro called for more investment from US companies, and noted that this would be a good counterbalance, as “Brazil sees itself as a global player even in terms of world trade.”
Franca said that Brazil does not see China as a threat: “We do not see China as a threat. I consider China a superpower that we can do business with if we do business and if we have a very mutually beneficial relationship.” Should I tell you who first helped Brazil with vaccines? This was China in the darkest hour of the pandemic. The first vaccines came from China,” he said.
Asked about the security threat to China, Franca said the debate was more “active” in the US, UK and Canada. “You have Chinese companies, you have American companies, you have European companies, you know, that compete side by side. I think it’s certainly a debate that is much more common than they think in these countries than in countries like Brazil.”
Talking about the risks and consequences of over-reliance on China with Sri Lanka As a prime example, Fox News Digital asked Franca how Brazil deals with China and what advice he had to give American politicians regarding intellectual property theft, espionage and security. Franca said it was difficult to advise other countries on what he said should be done in dealing with a “superpower” like China.
Franca said that just 20 years ago, China was a developing country. “But today it is a superpower in terms of science and technology. From the point of view of defense, of course, from the point of view of the economy, we have very good relations with China, of course, with the pace going faster, very fast, we have no problems in relations with China.”
He continued, “As I told you before, we see Brazil as a global player, you know, so we can have relationships with the United States and China.”
While President Trump and his Brazilian counterpart Bolsonaro had a close relationship, reports said there were some disagreements with the Biden administration. Speaking about the importance of the institutional relationship between the US and Brazil, Franca stressed the importance of the historical relationship.
“The most important thing is the historical roots that link Brazil and the United States. We share the same common values. If you think about the constitution, you know the basis and foundation of the Brazilian constitution, you see that we have the same values that they have had since the Independence of the United States.” He said that means an independent judiciary, respect for civil rights, strong democratic institutions with a strong parliament, noting that the two countries have the same foundations.
Franca said that at last month’s Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, the high-level meeting between President Biden and President Bolsonaro produced good results.
“I think the prospects are so good. Recently, you know, on the day that President Bolsonaro came to Los Angeles to meet with President Biden and, of course, to attend the Summit of the Americas. President Bolsonaro signed the decree, which was the implementation of the agreement that was signed in 2020 between the governments of the two countries.” He said the agreement would ease foreign trade between the two countries and make things easier for both importers and exporters by reducing bureaucracy.
Speaking of trade, Franca made it clear that relations with the US remain strong. He said that he really enjoyed the dialogue with Blinken. He said that they recently met on the sidelines G-20 meeting in Bali where he said that Brazil was invited next week to a global supply chain conference hosted by Blinken.
He was optimistic about the cooperation between the US and Brazil in the space industry. In 2019, Presidents Trump and Bolsonaro signed Technology Assurance Agreement, allowing the US to use Brazil’s Alcantara aerospace launch base for satellites. Franca said he was hopeful for the future of the Alcantara spaceport.
“Listen, the Alcantara launch site is a real miracle if you need to send a spacecraft into space because it is a very efficient place. I mean, you use… less fuel compared to other launch sites, and it’s so close to the United States because we’re in the same Western Hemisphere, so it makes sense to join forces to make this possible.” According to him, he is confident that in the near future it will “become a reality.”
Asked why he thinks the continent has recently shifted to the left, Franca said it could be due to the economic impact of the pandemic, but said it was more of a “sociological assumption” but he did not believe ideology “could interfere with international relations.” “. and noted his country’s relations with Peru. Peru elected a left-wing president, Pedro Castillo, but he and a right-wing Bolsonaro were able to work towards common interests.
He said that the two presidents met recently and have common interests in tourism, border patrols, interdiction of drug traffickers and drug dealers, and called Peru a good partner. He even said that if there were ideological values, they could still work together.
However, Franca drew a line with people like Venezuela and Cuba who, he said, did not share the values of free speech and democracy, and that is what prevents such relationships. “It would also be very difficult for us to deal with a country like Venezuela: they don’t have free elections, you know, democracy, that’s a question mark, you have political prisoners…he said it interferes with a smooth relationship. ”
He also acknowledged that Iran and Venezuela have good relations, noting that they were close. He said that Venezuela today “is not a good example … for the region in terms of respect for democracy, freedom of speech and the values that we share with the United States at the moment and with the Western world in general,” he concluded.
Frank Miles of Fox News contributed to this report.