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Brazilian presidential candidate advisor backs Argentina for BRICS

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Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s top foreign policy advisor supports the inclusion of Argentina in the BRICS group of developing nations, which could be a forum for negotiating peace in Ukraine, he told Reuters.

Celso Amorim, foreign minister during Lula’s 2003-2010 presidency, had a hand in founding the BRICS group along with Russia, India and China.

South Africa joined in 2011 and Argentina has been pushing to become the sixth member.

“It’s good to have balance within the BRICS, to have a larger role for Latin America,” Amorim said in an interview on Tuesday afternoon. “I think the eventual inclusion of Argentina would be positive.”

Polls show Lula with a lead of roughly 5 percentage points ahead of an Oct. 30 runoff against President Jair Bolsonaro.

Amorim said he has not discussed any role in an eventual Lula government, but he continues to discuss policy matters regularly with the leftist former president.

Regarding the Ukraine war, he said Lula had the disposition and track record to contribute to peace talks.

“He has the conditions to take part in a negotiating effort, which needs to be led by the European Union and United States, but with the participation of China, obviously. Brazil can also be an important country, whose voice resonates in the developing world,” Amorim said. “The BRICS as a group could help.”

Amorim also said Lula would make Brazil a protagonist in global climate talks if elected, calling for a summit of Amazon rainforest nations in the first half of next year to discuss conservation efforts along with more developed nations.

A third Lula term would open the door for Brazil to re-engage diplomatically with neighboring Venezuela, Amorim said, adding that Bolsonaro and U.S. President Donald Trump achieved little by breaking off relations with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

“Isolation, sanctions, blockades, threats of force don’t help at all. They only make things difficult,” he said.

Asked about reports of human rights violations in Venezuela and Nicaragua, Amorim said: “We will do whatever we can in favor of democracy in a way that is respectful, non-interventionist and not arrogant.”

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