Lula Calls on Ahmadinejad to Respect Diversity and Stop Financing Extremists

Lula hosts Ahmadinejad Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva called today, November 23, on his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to adopt a democratic policy that respects diversity. Indirectly, Lula also brought up the need for Teheran to end its financial support of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance movement, which has an active destabilizing role in the West Bank and Lebanon.

According to Lula, some changes in course are essential for Ahmadinejad if he wished to end the international political isolation Iran is in right now.

"In the world we live geographical distance and cultural diversity should not be used as an excuse to keep peoples separated," said Lula. "The Brazilian foreign policy is marked out by its commitment to democracy and respect to diversity. We support human rights and our men and women citizens' freedom to choose with the same vehemence with which we repudiate all acts of intolerance and the use of terrorism."

The international community suspects that the Ahmadinejad government supports and finances Hamas' activities. For the president of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), Mahmoud Abbas, it's  essential that Iran ends its association with the extremist group. Only then it would be possible to look for alternatives to the conflicts in the  Middle East.

In January 2006, the Hamas won the elections for the Palestinian parliament defeating the Fatah. Since the Hamas' electoral victory the conflict between Hamas and Fatah has become more intractable.

In 2007, Abbas declared Hamas' illegal.  In November 2009, Hamas promised to sign an agreement of domestic reconciliation in Palestine. The initiative had support from Egypt, which had obtained  Fatah's signature.

"Iran can have a decisive role not only in the Middle East, but also in Central Asia. We trust its culture's millenary experience to forge a harmonious international order in its own region. The Iranian contribution will be particularly important to achieve unity among Palestinians, without which their aspirations for freedom will not be achieved," said the Brazilian leader.

Lula and Ahmadinejad talked behind closed doors, only with the help of translators, for about three hours in the Itamaraty, Brazil's foreign ministry's Palace in Brazilian capital Brasí­lia. During the conversation, Lula reiterated his concerns with the actions of terrorists  and talked about how difficult it is to advance any negotiation while radical groups continue in activity.

In his visit to Brazil, Ahmadinejad was the target of criticisms of several sectors of society. Homosexuals and different ethnic groups charge him with prejudice. Jewish leaders in Brazil repudiate him for his declarations questioning the occurrence of the Holocaust and defending the end of the state of Israel. In his speech Lula also said that Brazil is an example of tolerance of diversity.

ABr

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