Lula (R) shaking hand with Abbas


The Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has urged Israel to stop building more settlements on Palestinian territories.

Lula made the remarks on Friday following a visit by acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas.

"The expansion of West Bank settlements must be frozen. The borders of the future Palestinian state should be preserved, and freedom of movement needs to be guaranteed in the occupied territories," Lula said, according to AFP.

Abbas, on the other hand, called on the Latin American leader to support international efforts and help revive the peace process in the Middle East.

Abbas' visit to Brazil came on the heels of a similar visit by Israeli President Shimon Perez, which took place last week.

"We appreciate the efforts of Brazil," Abbas told reporters in Brazil's northeastern city of Salvador.

"With respect to you, President Lula, we would like you to have a role, and you're ready for it," he said, adding that "the world can benefit from" Brazil's influence in the region."

The discussion between Lula and Abbas during their two-hour meeting rotated around the peace process in the Middle East and possible ways to give it a momentum.

"The peace process will benefit from the contribution of other countries other than those traditionally involved" in negotiation efforts, Lula said.