Brazil condemns ‘paralysis’ on Gaza, Ukraine at tense G20 meeting

RIO DE JANEIRO  -  Brazil criticized the “pa­ralysis” of the UN Secu­rity Council on the wars in Gaza and Ukraine as it opened a G20 meeting Wednesday where the international communi­ty’s deep divisions were on display. The outlook is bleak for progress on the thorny agenda of conflicts and crises gripping the planet as foreign ministers from the world’s biggest economies gather in Rio de Janeiro for the Group of 20’s first high-level meeting of the year.

Opening the two-day meeting, which featured US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Rus­sian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Brazil’s top diplomat, Mauro Vieira, said the explo­sion of global conflicts shows international in­stitutions like the United Nations are not working. “Multilateral institu­tions are not properly equipped to deal with the current challenges, as has been demon­strated by the Security Council’s unacceptable paralysis on the ongo­ing conflicts” in Gaza and Ukraine, Vieira said, adding the situation was costing “innocent lives.”

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell for his part warned multi­lateralism “is in crisis.”

The Security Council has failed to act on Rus­sia’s invasion of Ukraine, held in check by Rus­sian veto power, and has struggled to find a response to the war in Gaza, with Israel’s ally the United States using its veto to block calls for a ceasefire, most recent­ly Tuesday. Brazil, which took over the rotating G20 presidency from India in December, has voiced hopes the group could be a forum to make progress on such ques­tions. But that likely took a hit when Lula ignited a diplomatic firestorm Sunday by accusing Is­rael of “genocide,” com­paring its military cam­paign in the Gaza Strip to the Holocaust. The comments drew outrage in Israel, which declared him persona non grata, and could overshadow any bid to de-escalate the conflict via the G20. Blinken, who met Lula Wednesday in Brasilia before heading to the G20, “made clear we disagree with (his) com­ments,” a senior State Department official told journalists. The secre­tary of state and Brazil­ian leader had a “frank exchange” in their more than 90-minute meeting at the presidential pal­ace, the official said.

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