Alhayat Newspaper Interview

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Riyadh, 10 January 2015

The Brazilian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, HE Flavio Marega, unveiled to the Al-Hayat Newspapers yesterday that the Consular Section of the Embassy of Brazil in Riyadh had issued over 2600 visas to visit Brazil last year, including 600 visas during the period of the 2014 Football World Cup.  Also, he noted that it is a high number in comparison to other Brazilian Embassies in the Gulf region, partly due to the higher trade volume between Saudi Arabia and Brazil, which exceeded US$ 6 billion in 2013 and, not to mention, the number of Saudi businessmen and public workers who often participate in conferences in different fields held in Brazil and tourism, as the country offers different types of destinations.

The Brazilian Ambassador also cleared to us that Brazil has over 1.5 million Brazilian Muslims and many Islamic institutions, in many Brazilian districts, promoting the fact that an impressive number of Saudi religious, academic professors and scholars are attending many Islamic events in Brazil all the time.  Although the largest percentage of Brazilians are Christian, we are very proud that all religions are respected by all and at the same level in Brazil and, due to that, this creates a great atmosphere for all believers and those of different faiths to live together in peace and away from any tension.

He continued: «Last year, more than 7 million foreign tourists visited Brazil, among them 600 thousand who have visited the country during the World Cup, which generated US$ 6.7 billion in revenues», pointing out that «The Saudi tourists to Brazil are still comparatively in small numbers, but it is increasing substantially, especially now that there are direct flights from the Gulf countries to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro».

«Several Memorandums of Understanding have already been signed with the Saudi side related to higher education, academic and diplomacy programs, and there are plans to increase the exchange of university students between the two countries as part of the work», that’s what he told.  He also recalled that, in 2013, Brazil and Saudi Arabia celebrated 45 years of diplomatic relations which were established in 1968.  In 1973, both countries opened their Embassies in Brasilia and in Jeddah.  In 1986, with the transfer of the diplomatic capital, the Embassy of Brazil was then transferred to Riyadh.

Ambassador Marega expressed his enjoyment for working in Saudi Arabia.  He is touched by the hospitality of the Saudis, and calls on them to visit his country and enjoy Brazil’s natural beauty, and gain a distinctive experience of tourism in Brazil, referring to the fact that Brazilians are also known everywhere in the world as a hospitable and cordial people, and provide guests with all the means of respect and duty of hospitality.

He added that: «The role of my country's Embassy in Saudi Arabia is to convey the political, economic, religious, cultural and social developments of Saudi Arabia, as well as Yemen and the gulf region, to the government of my country, in addition to strengthening trade and investment ties between the two countries, especially considering that Brazil is a growing economic power in Latin America, with a solid industrial base, comparable to what many developed countries have.  Plus, the Embassy has to deal with direct interests of 700 Brazilian nationals working in Saudi Arabia, located in Riyadh, Jeddah, Al-Ahsa, Jubail, Dammam and Khobar.  The Brazilian Embassy is also currently discussing with the Saudi side, to allow the import of Brazilian meat and beef that has been prevented to be imported two years ago.  The Brazilian citizens in Saudi Arabia are working in several areas, including medicine, engineering and information technology, in addition to the high proportion of workers in the field of sports training, especially of those of football athletes, one of the well-known things on Brazil, as well as people responsible on technical organization of the games and, last but not least, in the field of veterinary medicine and care for horses».

He attracted us to him when said that: «the Brazilians are working in unique jobs and they are being appreciated by the Saudi government and people, and do not have any problems in compared to the other communities.  All Brazilians in Saudi Arabia are working legally without excesses, and linked to clear work contracts with their sponsors».

«However, Brazilian citizens face problems concerning the fulfilment of private work contracts particularly in the football clubs.  We receive very often complaints from Brazilian football players saying that their clubs usually delay their salary or do not pay their wages as agreed in the contract» he added.

He ended by saying that Brazil celebrates each year's National Day on 7 September, which symbolizes the national independence from Portugal in 1822, after a series of revolutions claiming for independence and freedom.


Source: Al-Hayat Newspaper

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