President stresses transatlantic ties

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 07-01-2020 11:50:00 · 0 Comments

Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has called for a strengthening of the transatlantic alliance, saying that "allies are allies, even if they are “at times volatile” or opt “to act alone and without notice” in areas where the norm is shared action.

The head of state was addressing heads of mission, ambassadors and consuls-general of Portugal accredited to various countries and international organisations, amid escalating tension between Iran and the US following the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a US drone attack in Baghdad last Friday.

"We know that allies are allies, even if at times volatile or preferring to act alone and without warning in shared areas," de Sousa said at a ceremony in Lisbon at which he exchange New Year’s greetings with Portuguese diplomats.

Distinguishing allies from partner countries and from states considered to be “brothers”, the president noted that these cannot change category by artifice. He later mentioned these three categories again, with reference to the current geopolitical context, though without ever mentioning any particular situation.

"The reality is today, in a brief note on the time we are living in, we feel that it is increasingly difficult to explain to our brothers, to our allies or to our partners that there is no singular gesture, [however] brilliant or fair it appears to be, or irreplaceable it is for affirmation … at home, if it is not sustained in the long term, that is worth more than years and years of filling gaps, of establishing sharing, of building indispensable structures, of consolidating alliances, of trying to pacify societies and regimes," he said.

De Sousa described Portugal as a country with a long past that often smiles "with condescension" at the teachings of those who were ‘born’ centuries later, "as if before a son or a grandson who comes to explain that it is an island that can live and give orders alone" in the world.

"No one lives far from reality,” he said. “And the reality is today increasingly multipolar, albeit with traces of remaining or fading monopolarism, and new bipolarism [that is] still very incipient.

“The reality is today [that] former global powers are becoming strong regional powers, new global powers are emerging, and consolidated regional powers are constituting the most unforeseen factors of disruption and complexification," he added.

Among the goals of Portuguese foreign policy, de Sousa highlighted the contribution to "strengthening the transatlantic alliance, despite the election year underway [in the US], to overcome also here lulls and uncertainty" in a space that he defined as "obviously vital" for Portugal.

The president also stressed the need for climate action and work to prepare Portugal’s presidency of the European Union in 2021. In this regard, he stressed that "Africa is not, nor can it be, a mere field of dispute of secondhand European protagonists.”

On the Community of Portuguese-Language Countries (CPLP), he said that there was a need to "ensure, so far as possible, a new phase or, at the very least, a new spirit."


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