Lula: “We Cannot Allow Some Countries to Be Armed to the Teeth While Others Are Disarmed”


The president of Brazil brings a firm message to the summit on nuclear security.

“I’m going to ask President Obama: what is the significance of your recent accord with Medvedev on the deactivation of nuclear warheads [of the United States and Russia]?  Deactivation of what?  If we are talking about deactivating the warheads that are already beyond the expiration dates, what’s the point?  I have a medicine cabinet at home, too, out of which I chuck what has expired.  Either we talk about disarmament seriously, or we cannot allow a group of countries to be armed to the teeth while others are disarmed.”

Thus Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva explained his position, in a conversation with Juan Luis Cebrián, a journalist and the CEO of El País, which took place last Friday in the office of the Brazilian leader.  Lula, who will attend the international summit on nuclear security in Washington beginning tomorrow, met Cebrián in the framework of preparation for the conference on Brazil that El País and Valor will be holding in Madrid next month.

“Pakistan,” said the Brazilian head of state, “has nuclear weapons, and so does Israel.  It would be understandable if those who feel pressured by this situation thought about creating their own.  We have no right to push anyone to the wall, to use the tactic of all or nothing.”

“I have explained to Obama, Sarkozy, and Merkel that we have to talk with Iran,” Lula added.  “Iran is a great country, with its own culture, which has created a civilization.  It is necessary for the Iranians to know that they can enrich uranium for peaceful purposes and for the rest of us to have the peace of mind that enrichment is only for the said peaceful purposes.  It’s not possible to begin with the prejudice that Ahmadinejad is a terrorist who must be isolated.  We must negotiate.  I’d like to talk with him on these issues until the last minute.  And the only constraint to the position of Brazil is respect for the UN resolutions, with which my country will comply.”

The original article “Lula: ‘No podemos admitir países armados hasta los dientes y otros desarmados'” was published by El País on 11 April 2010.  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi (@yoshiefuruhashi | yoshie.furuhashi [at]

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