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Lula and Biden meet in Washington and pledge to “stand united” to protect democracy

Lula and Biden meet in Washington and pledge to "stand united" to protect democracy
Photo: Reuters

February 13 |

The presidents of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the United States, Joe Biden, met this Friday in Washington to advance issues on the common agenda and open a new moment in bilateral relations, a meeting in which both leaders pledged to “stand united” to protect democracy.

The portion of the meeting that was open to the press passed in a relaxed atmosphere, in which both leaders were comfortable, cracked jokes and kept the conversation focused on common causes such as peace, democracy and the environment, away from sensitive issues such as foreign policy and their positions on China and Russia.

“The strong democracies of our two nations have been tested recently, have been really tested, and our institutions were also put in jeopardy,” Biden said as he welcomed Lula da Silva to the Oval Office.

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The U.S. president alluded to the attack by supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on public institutions in Brasilia on January 8, and reaffirmed his country’s commitment to Brazil and to maintaining the good relationship between the two nations.

“The United States and Brazil are the two largest democracies in the hemisphere,” Biden told Lula, while insisting that the two nations “reject political violence” and maintain a firm commitment to “stand together” to defend democratic values around the world.

Lula, for his part, thanked Biden for the support shown almost immediately after he won the elections, his “stance in defense of democracy in Brazil” and congratulated him for his State of the Nation address a few days ago.

The veteran ruler, who last January 1 began his third term as head of state in Brazil, criticized – without mentioning his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro – the state in which his country remained isolated in the international arena during the last four years.

“Brazil is a country that does not seek litigation with anyone, it is a country that loves peace,” he asserted.

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This is Lula’s seventh visit to Washington as president of Brazil. The two leaders already knew each other and had spoken on several occasions by telephone since the Brazilian won the elections in October, but this is the first time they have met face to face since they assumed the presidencies of their respective countries.

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International

140: this is the number of countries that recognize the Palestinian state

About 140 countries of the 193 countries that are part of the United Nations (UN) have recognized the Palestinian State and of them eight belong to the European Union (EU), although only Sweden and Cyprus did so after entering it.

Sweden was the last country in the European Union to recognize the Palestinian State, on October 30, 2014.

Three years earlier, on January 30, 2011, it had been done by Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004.

The recognition by Sweden in 2014 opened the debate between the EU member states and several legislative chambers approved resolutions to urge their governments to officially recognize Palestine as a state, including the British parliament, the Irish Senate, the Congress of Deputies in Spain or the French Assembly.

On December 17, 2014, the European Parliament (EP) joined the recognition of Palestine, by supporting a joint resolution of the majority political groups that won 498 votes in favor, 111 against and 88 abstentions.

The other six EU countries that have recognized the Palestinian State are the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania.

They all did it days after, on November 15, 1988, the Palestinian National Council proclaimed in Algiers the establishment of the state of Palestine, while accepting UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, which meant recognizing Israel’s right to exist.

Six of those countries then belonged to the Soviet bloc, including the Czech Republic and Slovakia, then united in a single country, Czechoslovakia.

In the year following its proclamation, the Palestinian State was recognized by ninety countries and in 1995 the number already exceeded one hundred.

Cuba, then also a Soviet ally, and Nicaragua were the first Latin American countries to recognize Palestine as a state, in 1988. Currently, 24 Latin American countries recognize it, all except Mexico and Panama.

The last to do so was Colombia, on August 8, 2018.

The Bahamas, on May 8, was the last country to formally recognize Palestine as a State and its right to “self-determination.” Shortly before, Trinidad and Tobago (May 3), Jamaica (April 24) and Barbados (April 21) had done it.

Among those who do not recognize the Palestinian state, in addition to countries of the European Union such as Germany, France or Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia stand out.

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International

Beijing sanctions 12 other U.S. military companies for selling weapons to Taiwan

China today sanctioned twelve other US military companies and several senior managers for selling weapons to Taiwan and in response to the sanctions imposed by Washington on Chinese entities on account of the war in Ukraine, something that, according to Beijing, “violated the legitimate rights of Chinese institutions and individuals.”

Among the twelve sanctioned companies, which will freeze their assets in China, are several of the Lockheed Martin group, in addition to Javelin Joint Venture, Raytheon Missile Systems and General Dynamics Ordnance, among others, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported in a statement.

The Chinese government has reiterated on numerous occasions its opposition to the sale of weapons to Taiwan by Washington, which in turn also sanctioned on May 1 hundreds of companies, including several Chinese companies, which it pointed out for helping Russia in its war against Ukraine.

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International

The Princess of Wales still can’t resume her official agenda

The Princess of Wales, Catherine, who is currently undergoing preventive oncological treatment, will not yet be able to resume her official agenda, as indicated by Kensington Palace, her official residence.

The news was released during the presentation of a report on the foundation that it supports and with which it is about giving priority to the mental health of children under five years of age.

For his part, a spokesman for Kensington Palace told the BBC that “the princess is not expected to return to work until her medical team authorizes it.”

Last March, Prince William’s wife revealed through a video that she was undergoing preventive cancer treatment, after doctors detected her with cancer cells after an abdominal operation last January.

Since then, there has been no official statement about the state or treatment of Prince William’s wife.

Like Catherine, King Charles III undergoes oncological treatment.

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