In the Middle East right now and determined to be one of the mediators of peace between Israel and Palestine, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said today that he cannot remember the last time he had a row. He says he has carried the “peace virus” since he was a baby. The comment was made during a speech to businessmen, in Jerusalem.
“I think that the peace virus has been in me since I was in my mother’s womb. I cannot recall the last time I had a fight with anyone,” said the president.
In a good mood, Lula generated laughs from the audience, and also from Israeli president Shimon Peres, on saying that in his Worker’s Party there are disagreements that would cause envy in anybody.
“I have worked on many political disputes, and I belong to a party that is very complicated (…). We have political disputes that would cause envy in anyone anywhere in the world,” he added.
On defending the peace process, Lula mentioned a meeting with former US president George W. Bush, in 2003, when he told the American leader that Iraq was not a problem of Brazil’s, and that his priority was fighting poverty.
“I thought that my reaction with president Bush would generate animosity. As I had been a union leader all my life, I imagined that I was going to fight very much with the United States. However, Bush finished his term in office and I am going to finish mine without any arguments. When we had disputes, we solved them by telephone,” he said.
The Foreign Minister of Brazil, Celso Amorim, said that during the meeting between Lula and Peres, the possible participation of Brazil in the peace process was discussed.
“He greatly praised the part played by Brazil in the situation, saying that the country can help promote dialogue. He finds that this capacity of making friends with everybody may be useful in these situations, but that was not the moment to discuss those details,” said the diplomat.
Lula also spoke to Israeli businessmen about investment opportunities in Brazil, mentioning the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), the World Cup, the Olympics, the high speed train between Campinas, São Paulo and Rio and the opportunities for oil exploration in the Campos Basin.