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After Bolsonaro Statements About the Embassy in Jerusalem, Egypt Government Canceled Chancellor’s Official Visit

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Following repeated statements by President-elect Jair Bolsonaro that he would transfer the Brazilian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Egyptian government has postponed a visit to the country by Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes Ferreira, which was scheduled for the 8th to 11th of this month.

The official information provided by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry is that the trip would have to be postponed because of the problems of the country’s high authorities. Aloysio would meet with the country’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, and the president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

However, Itamaraty sources admit that the cancellation — at the hour and without suggestion of a new date, which is not the protocol in diplomatic relations — is a sign of the Arab country’s displeasure with the positions of the new Brazilian president.

Bolsonaro had already spoken during the campaign and recently reiterated in an interview and on his own personal Twitter account that he intends to transfer the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem following the move made by US President Donald Trump.

Jerusalem is considered as disputed territory between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. According to the United Nations (UN) plan for the region, with the creation of two states, the city would be the capital of both, since the two peoples claim it as ancestral territory. However, while the solution is not implemented, Jerusalem is not recognized by the UN as the capital of either country.

Bolsonaro’s decision not to recognize Palestine as a nation strengthens a Brazilian position of alignment with Israel, contrary to that followed by Brazilian diplomacy to this day, which has always been in support of the two-state solution and the recognition of Palestine, and displeases the Arab countries, now the fifth destination of Brazilian exports, especially meat, poultry and sugar.

Aloysio would travel with a commission of businessmen since the intention of the visit was to strengthen the commercial relations between Brazil and Egypt after the signing of a free trade agreement between the Arab country and Mercosur. The 2nd Brazil-Egypt Investment Opportunity Forum appeared prominently on the page of the Brazilian-Arab Chamber of Commerce but was also canceled without a new date.