Brazil always supported Ukraine’s territorial integrity despite abstaining on key resolutions, Ambassador says

International

Editor’s Note

In the second part of Kyiv not Kiev’s interview with the Brazilian Ambassador Norton de Andrade, find out how Brazil can simultaneously support Ukraine’s territorial integrity and simultaneously abstain from voting for the relevant resolutions, whether Brazilian businessmen are advised to read Ukrainian newspapers, and whether Ukraine is an Eastern European country.

This is the second part of Kyiv Not Kiev’s interview with the Brazilian Ambassador to Ukraine, Norton de Andrade. Watch and read the first part:

Did you know that there is a tradition in the UN General Assembly when Brazil gives the first speech at General Debate?

The reason is quite interesting. Brazil is not a host country, it’s not a permanent member of the Security Council, and it’s not even first alphabetically. However, when the UN was only born, no member state was ready to speak first. That’s when Brazil stepped up and earned a right to continue to do so since 1955.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine’s territory in 2014, the UN General Assembly has continuously considered critical issues to Ukraine among which are the territorial integrity, occupation of Crimea, human rights violations in Crimea. Brazil used to abstain from voting on these Resolutions. For example, it happened during the vote for the Resolution on the Territorial Integrity of Ukraine as of 2014. Brazil abstained. We asked the Ambassador of Brazil to Ukraine, Mr. Norton de Andrade Mello Rapesta, what were the reasons for this?

“Brazil always supported and will continue to support the territorial integrity of Ukraine decided of 1991. But in diplomacy, there are moments that you have to adapt how you vote in the United Nations. Because the United Nations is big chess,” said the Ambassador.

Mr. Rapeasta emphasized – abstention does not mean “no.” It means that they will not say anything now, but they keep their position. According to him, it’s something of a game. It depends on many aspects of the international agenda.

“Sometimes you have to make some moves, keeping your traditional positions, just to achieve better results,” stated the Ambassador.

Brazil also abstained from voting for Resolutions on “Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)” (2016, 2017, 2018) and Resolution on “Problem of the militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine, as well as parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov” (2018, 2019, 2020).

On trade relations between Ukraine and Brazil

“In this globalizing world, we have to join our ventures to explore other markets,” stated the Ambassador.

He reminded us of The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the European Union that was negotiated between 2007 and 2011 and was signed in June 2014. According to Mr. Rapesta, some companies from Brazil, which have expertise in the areas Ukraine needs should come to invest in Ukraine and jointly export products to the European Union.

Here in Ukraine, we already have a Brazilian company – Stefanini, a large IT company worth $1 billion. It opened its office in Ukraine in 2019, citing that 78% of workers here have an average or high level of English proficiency.

But there are some obstacles in front of investors who want to come to Ukraine.

We have to tell our businessmen not to read newspapers every day,” stated Mr. Rapesta.

The same applies to Ukrainian entrepreneurs. According to Ambassador, both Ukrainian and Brazilian media only scare away potential investors. After all, they cover only non-positive events from the two countries, which repeat the notion of instability, danger, and crisis.

“They [investors] have to listen to the reality. You can only understand the country when you go somewhere and see, smell, and taste,” highlighted the Ambassador.

On Ukraine as a Central European country

Mr. Ambassador holds the position of the Ambassador of Brazil to both Ukraine and Moldova. We asked him whether Eastern European countries look alike for a Latin American citizen. Mr. Rapesta corrected us,

“I don’t think Ukraine is an Eastern European country.”

He emphasized that Ukraine was in Eastern Europe during the bipolar period when the “Iron Curtain” divided Europe into two parts. Geographically Europe ends at the Urals in Russia.

“Why don’t you say that Lithuania is an Eastern European country. Or Poland. They all were from the Eastern part,” he said. “This is my perspective. If you look at the European map, Ukraine, Poland and Belarus are in the heart and very center of Europe. Russia is Eastern Europe, geographically speaking.”

At the end of the interview with Ambassador Rapesta, we played a little game to know whether so geographically distant from each other Ukraine and Brazil have something in common. We advise you to see it personally in the video on Kyiv Not Kiev’s Facebook page or above this article. Be sure to do it, you won’t be disappointed.

Polina Boichuk is an associate partner at TRUMAN, co-founder and co-host of KYIV NOT Kiev.

Victoria Dubiv is a project manager at TRUMAN, editor of KYIV NOT KIEV

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