Diplomat optimistic about Brazil-Arab relations

In an interview with ANBA, Arab League ambassador to Brasília, Qais Marouf Kheiro Shqair, talked about the perspectives of Brazil-Arab relations after the visit of president Jair Bolsonaro to the region in October.

Isaura Daniel

Brasília – The Arab League ambassador to Brazil, Qais Marouf Kheiro Shqair, is optimistic about Brazil-Arab countries relations. During an interview with ANBA, he talked about the prospective relations between both regions, mentioning the visit president Jair Bolsonaro will make to the Middle East in October, and said he believes Brazil may act as a mediator of the Palestine-Israel conflict. He also strongly advocates that Brazil-Arab economic ties be strengthened.

“Relations have developed”, he said. Recently, the ambassador has been at the Ministry of Foreign Relations talking about topics involving Brazil-Arab relations, including the trip of the Brazilian president. Bolsonaro is slated to go to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, but the diplomat also talked about the possibility of expanding the tour to include other Arab countries. Shqair would like for the president to go to Jordan, as well as other nations. “So far, things are changing positively,” said Shqair.

The ambassador believes that it’s necessary to work on strengthening Brazil-Arab economic ties. “I think this is very important,” he said. Shqair points out the sizes of both Brazil and Arab markets, the first with approximately 200 million inhabitants and the latter with over 300 million. “It’s a big market,” said the Arab countries ambassador. He also looks at Brazil’s potential. “Brazil has many prospects, many opportunities,” he said, expressing eagerness to enhance economic ties. “We stopped for a while promoting the economic part, but the visit will be a good chance for the president,” said Shqair.

The ambassador thinks Brazil has a chance to become an impartial mediator in the Middle East. He said Brazil is a very welcome country in the Arab world. “We do love Brazil, since we were kids. I was born loving Brazil, but not only me, everyone in the Arab world,” said the ambassador, adding that the Arab countries don’t mind that Brazil foster relations with any other countries, not even Israel. “With Israel in specific, it’s a credit for us, it’s a credit for Brazil to be a mediator,” he told ANBA. Brazil can even help alleviate the conflict between Israel and Palestine and perhaps even solve it, he believes.

Having been in office for approximately nine months, the diplomat attended a dinner that the Brazilian government held for Arab and Islamic ambassadors and delegates in April in Brasília, which was attended by president Jair Bolsonaro, minister of Agriculture, Tereza Cristina, and foreign minister Ernesto Araújo, as well as other authorities. Shqair expects more opportunities for dialogue and believes that, together, Brazil and the Arab countries can accomplish many things in the economic area, not just in trade but also in joint investment and strategic partnerships.

The Arab League ambassador talked to ANBA before the end of the visit congressman and Foreign Relations and National Defense Committee president Eduardo Bolsonaro (PSL-SP) made to the UAE last week, when he confirmed the president’s trip to the region.

Translated by Guilherme Miranda

Isaura Daniel/ANBA

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