New Portuguese foreign minister wants more attention to non-Lusophone Africa

10 July 2006

Lisbon, Portugal, 10 July – New Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado has said he wants Lisbon’s diplomacy to focus more on non-Lusophone states in Africa, where, he says, there has been an over-concentration of efforts in recent years.

In an interview with Lisbon business daily “Diário Económico” last week, Amado said attention should be given “to other countries that are also important and where there is some strategic potential, such as South Africa”, adding that Portugal’s bilateral ties with Africa have been excessively focused in its former colonies.

“During these years, we centered our relations on the recovery and strengthening of two-way relations with the African Lusophone states and we should give much attention to a new multilateral approach that is now made to the problems of Africa”, said the Portuguese diplomat.

“This entire multilateral vision has as its backdrop today’s political dynamic on the continent. The African Union is active as a multilateral organization and has become a catalyst in Africa”, added Amado, who replaced Diogo Freitas do Amaral as Lisbon’s foreign minister at the end of last month due to the latter’s illness.

Amado also called for the CPLP Lusophone bloc, which celebrates its 10th anniversary next week at a leaders’ summit in Guinea-Bissau, to be more inclusive.

“We have to pay attention to the CPLP’s own dynamic that centers on most of its members being African states”, said the Lisbon minister.

Amado also told the business journal he would give a central role to economic ties in the developing of closer relations with African nations, but added that financial constraints in his ministry were an obstacle to this goal.

“I think that economic relations are essential to the furthering of our African policies. We need to invest more and buy and sell more to Africa.” (macauhub)