1674694039 Lula meets up with Lacalle Pou in Montevideo

Lula meets up with Lacalle Pou in Montevideo

This was the tense cross between the presidents of Argentina and Uruguay 0:59

(CNN Spanish) — Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva paid a state visit to Uruguay on Wednesday, where he met with President Luis Lacalle Pou.

Lula said he viewed Uruguay’s proposals for greater trade opening as “fair” but said Mercosur should first finalize FTA negotiations with the European Union and then start negotiations with China.

(From left to right) Beatriz Argimon, Vice President of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, President of Uruguay, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, Rosangela “Janja” da Silva, Lula’s wife, and Francisco Bustillo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, on Posing for a photo at the presidential residence in Montevideo on January 25, 2023 during Lula’s visit to Uruguay. (Credit: DANTE FERNANDEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

“We will intensify talks and we will sign this agreement so that we can start talking about a China-Mercosur deal immediately. And I believe it’s possible. We want to talk to Mercosur and our Chinese friends and negotiate a Mercosur-China deal, Lula said.

The Uruguayan government has been promoting bilateral negotiations on a free trade agreement with Beijing for several months. The President of Uruguay pointed out that the country “cannot stand still in terms of international relations”.

During his stay in Montevideo, Lula barbecued with his delegation and Uruguayan ministers. He also gave a brief speech to left-wing activists in the city center and later met with what he called his “brother,” former Uruguayan President José “Pepe” Mujica.

Lula also referenced his friendship with the late former Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez.

“My relationship with heads of state is not guided by a vision of ideological bias. Presidents don’t have to think like me, they don’t have to like me personally. I always tell all presidents that there are two things to do in the relationship between two leaders: respect for countries’ sovereignty and desire to do good for both countries,” he said.

Lula also noted that he returned to the Brazilian presidency not only to work for his people, but also for new international governance and for the Union of Latin America.