Brazil’s Lula boycotted by Israeli Foreign Minister
Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reportedly have boycotted the visit to Israel by the Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Israeli media reported that Lieberman on Monday boycotted Lula da Silva’s speech to Israel’s Knesset (parliament) to protest the visiting leader’s refusal to lay a wreath at Mount Herzl.
According to the report, Lieberman also boycotted a meeting between Lula and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, claiming the Brazilian president slighted Israel by refusing the customary diplomatic visit to Mount Herzl and the gravesite of Zionist leader Theodore Herzl.
The Brazilian leader described his visit to Israel as “a mission of peace” that he hoped would help his country emerge as a bigger player in foreign affairs.
During the visit, Lula informed Israeli President Shimon Peres that Israel had been accepted as the first non-South American partner in the free trade group, Mercosur.
The tour of the Brazilian leader includes visiting Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan ahead of a more controversial visit to Iran in May.
In November 2009, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the first Iranian president to visit Brazil.