Portuguese Foreign Minister asked for a report to determine the average visa processing time in Sao Tome and Principe to travel to Portugal
On Monday, a Sao Tome citizen vandalized the premises of the Portuguese embassy in Sao Tome and Principe, allegedly due to the delay in visa processing to travel to Portugal, which prompted an apology from the local government.
"Upon learning about this act I ordered the embassy to inform me of the deadline of the ongoing schedules and the reasons for the delays, if any," said the Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva, in Luanda, on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Luanda Biennial - Pan African Forum for the Culture of Peace.
The minister assured that if they are experiencing delays that are longer than normal, they will have to be corrected because "people have the right to be served on time" and said he hopes to get the report soon. "Then I will be able to make decisions," he said.
The office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Communities of Sao Tome regretted this and said that the Government will proceed with the opening of the inquiry in order to ascertaining responsibilities, but also expressed "the need for a more humane approach" regarding procedures, including the level of service and response time.
Santos Silva downplayed the episode, considering that the Sao Tome Government "cannot be held responsible for a thoughtless act of one person" and stressed that there was no destruction, but "vandalization" of facilities. Consular services have already been reopened and there should be no security enhancement, according to the minister.
"Sao Tome is a peaceful country, the Portuguese are welcome in Sao Tome and the locals are welcome in Portugal. Both countries have a concern as to what international law dictates. It was just a thoughtless act as sometimes happens, which should not be exaggerated," insisted the head of Portuguese diplomacy.