| 9 December 2023, Saturday |

Spanish PM will ask Biden to listen to China, Brazil on Ukraine

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will ask American President Joe Biden in Washington on Friday to hear the perspectives of non-NATO nations such as China and Brazil on the conflict in Ukraine, according to a Spanish diplomatic source.

Madrid concurs with Washington that arming Kyiv’s soldiers is necessary and that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was illegal.

But it is positioning itself as an intermediary because of its close ties to Latin American countries and more conciliatory relations with Beijing.

The first White House meeting between the two NATO allies comes just weeks before Sanchez takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the second half of the year.

Sanchez visited Beijing in March and received Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Madrid last month.

China is an ally of Russia and has advocated an alternative peace plan to the one championed by NATO allies. Lula has also made controversial statements on ending the conflict in Ukraine, from which Sanchez has distanced himself.

But Sanchez will convey to Biden the divergent views of Beijing and Brasilia, who are also impacted by the war, the source said.

The meeting takes place as Europe seeks to bolster homegrown industry and secure reliable sources of raw materials and energy as well as finding ways to rival the green subsidies announced by the Biden administration under the Inflation Reduction Act.

Sanchez will outline to Biden the concept of “open strategic autonomy”, a central policy of his forthcoming European mandate which, according to a second government source, is not intended to veer towards protectionism but to reduce the Europe’s “vulnerabilities”.

Potential cooperation on the manufacture and/or supply of microchips and semiconductors and the exploitation of the rare earth minerals from Latin America will also be on the agenda between the two leaders.

  • Reuters