By: Chandrashekar Bhat
US President Joe Biden aims to speak this weekend with Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about Ukraine and the “sacrosanct” issue of sovereignty and territorial integrity, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Saturday (20).
Lula and Modi are attending a summit of the Group of Seven (G7) rich nations in Hiroshima at the invitation of Japan, this year’s host of the G7, which also includes the US, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada.
Asked if Biden would pressure or urge the two leaders to toughen their approach on China and Russia, Sullivan said, “I think pressure is just the wrong word. I mean, that’s not how President Biden operates with these key leaders with whom he has deep relationships.”
Instead, Biden would “look for the opportunity to speak with both of them about the constructive role that each country can play in supporting the most basic and fundamental element of any outcome, which is sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is sacrosanct in the (United Nations) Charter,” Sullivan told reporters in Hiroshima.
Brazil and India have for years sought to play bridge-building roles between the United States and Russia and China, and both countries have maintained economic and political relations with Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, frustrating Western efforts to isolate Moscow.
Lula last month angered many in the West by calling for the US and European allies to stop supplying arms to Ukraine, saying they were prolonging the war. A White House spokesperson responded by accusing him of “parroting Russian and Chinese propaganda”.
After the backlash, the Brazilian leader toned down his comments, and on a visit to Portugal and Spain he condemned Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
Sullivan noted that Brazil has supported several key UN resolutions based on the underlying concept of territorial integrity, adding, “That’s really where the president wants to drive things with the key emerging economies who will be here.”
Other issues Biden wants to discuss include a G7 push to build more resilient supply chains and bolster infrastructure investments in developing countries, as well as how to deal with their massive debt burdens, Sullivan said.
Biden is slated to see Modi as part of a third Quad summit, along with the leaders of Australia and Japan on the sidelines of the G7 summit.