Africa-Press – Mozambique. The Mozambican government on Tuesday thanked Portugal for its support in training in the area of defence and reiterated the need for Lisbon to maintain that support, as well as to help in the reconstruction of the destruction caused by terrorism in Cabo Delgado.
“We thank Portugal for its support in training in the area of defence and security and reiterate the need for [Portugal] to continue to support these efforts,” said the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Ambassador Manuel José Gonçalves, at the end of a meeting in Lisbon with his Portuguese counterpart, Francisco André, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
The Mozambican minister gave an account of the situation of the fight against terrorism in the province of Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique, in talks with the Portuguese secretary of state, to whom he noted the intense work being done by the Defence and Security Forces of Mozambique, with the support of friendly countries, particularly Rwanda and the SADC (Southern African Development Community) countries, in the fight against terrorist acts that have plagued some districts of that province.
As a result of these actions, some districts occupied by terrorists have already been freed, and reconstruction work is currently underway, based on the plan approved by the government of Maputo, Gonçalves added.
In this context, the Mozambican minister stressed the need for Portugal to join in this effort of the Mozambican government in the reconstruction of these districts devastated by the terrorists.
André stressed the understanding between the two delegations in preparing the 5th bilateral Portugal-Mozambique summit, scheduled for the beginning of next month in Maputo, whose most significant point on the programme will be the signing of the next Strategic Cooperation Programme (PEC) for 2021-2026.
Negotiations for the next PEC are at an advanced stage of negotiation and meet the priorities put forward by Maputo, particularly in the areas of Health, Education and Defence, the Portuguese Secretary of State said.
In bilateral defence cooperation, Portugal has been firmly committed to the initial training of marines and commandos for the Mozambican Defence and Security Forces. These troops are fundamental in response to the terrorist threat. Still, Lisbon’s help also involves the role it is taking on as leader on the ground of the European Union Training Mission (EUTM), which will train the staff of those particular units over the next two years.
In the area of health, André stressed that Portugal has so far provided Mozambique with 160,000 doses of anti-Covid-19 vaccines and that in the coming weeks, another 200,000 doses will be made available, a number that we want to increase by the end of the year.
Manuel José Gonçalves thanked Portugal’s support to face the pandemic, specifically with the availability of vaccines, which have contributed to alleviating the situation.
The meeting also served to review the current PEC 2017-2021, which is being closed with an execution above 100%, according to Francisco André.
The Mozambican government also said that closing the bilateral cooperation instrument is going excellently. It recognised that Portugal has been flexible in its implementation, responding to the unexpected challenges that Mozambique has faced, specifically the pandemic of Covid-19, terrorism, and natural disasters that have frequently struck the country.
About the next PEC and the bilateral summit that will take Prime Minister António Costa to Maputo at the beginning of November, on the same flight as several Portuguese businesspeople who will take part in a business forum, the Mozambican ambassador stressed the importance of these resulting in the deepening of economic relations.
“The economic aspect is fundamental, particularly at this time when our countries are gradually coming out of this crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Manuel José Gonçalves.