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Cape Verde’s President wants “new paths” in relations with Portugal

Cape Verdean President José Maria Neves today called relations with Portugal “excellent and consolidated,” but said he wants to add “new paths” involving non-state actors, as he ahead of his first state visit to the country.

“Relations with Portugal are excellent, they are already consolidated relations and they cover all areas of governance and development of the country. We want to add and bring to the relations between the two countries new paths, new dynamics,” said José Maria Neves, in the city of Praia, before traveling to Portugal, where he begins on Thursday his first state visit since he was elected last October.

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The head of state argued that it is possible to convene the non-state actors, such as foundations, universities or non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to “reinvigorate” relations and “enrich” this relationship between the two countries.

“In fact, companies, universities, NGOs, people, often end up being ahead of the state and can bring new opportunities to strengthen the relations of friendship and cooperation between our two countries, which are already excellent, but creating new spaces for action between Cape Verde and Portugal,” he reinforced.

On Friday, José Maria Neves, together with Portuguese President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and his counterpart from São Tomé and Príncipe, Carlos Vila Nova, are speakers at the “Dialogue between Presidents”, as part of the 2022 edition of the EurAfrican Forum, a global dialogue promoted annually by the Portuguese Diaspora Council to strengthen ties between Europe and Africa.

The Cape Verdean President said that the meeting will address mainly the contribution of the diaspora to the development of these countries, acting as a “leaven” to accelerate the pace, break with certain practices, create new habits and accelerate development.

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“Cape Verde is a diasporic, transnational state. We must consider the important role that the diaspora can play in Cape Verde’s development. The diaspora is not just a financial remittance, it can bring a lot to Cape Verde and can support us in accelerating our development process, through remittances of ideas, contributing to the development of education, health, to the sophistication of our public administration,” he added.

José Maria Neves begins his visit Thursday by meeting with his Portuguese counterpart at the Palácio de Belém in Lisbon in a “restricted meeting,” to be followed by a meeting between the two countries’ delegations.

Before that, the Cape Verdean President will also lay a wreath at the tomb of Luís de Camões, at the Jerónimos Monastery, and on the same day will be received at the Portuguese Parliament by the parliament’s president, Augusto Santos Silva. Later on Thursday, José Maria Neves will receive the keys to the city of Lisbon, in a solemn session at the City Hall.

The Cape Verdean head of state will also visit the headquarters of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) in Lisbon, and address a message to the Permanent Coordination Committee, which will meet in an extraordinary session.

According to information sent Tuesday by the Presidency of the Republic, the visit takes place at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Portugal, and the Cape Verdean head of state will be accompanied by the ministers of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Rui Figueiredo Soares, and Communities, Jorge Santos, as well as the president of the National Association of Cape Verdean Municipalities, Herménio Fernandes.

José Maria Neves, elected in October 2022 and Prime Minister of Cape Verde from 2001 to 2016, will be accompanied by the first lady, Débora Carvalho.

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The agenda of the Cape Verdean President’s visit also includes meetings with the presidents of Portuguese municipal councils twinned with Cape Verdean municipalities, in addition to a visit to the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE) and the University of Algarve.

“On this State visit, the President of the Republic will dedicate an important part of his agenda to his purpose of getting closer to the vast Cape Verdean Diaspora. In this scope, he will have a meeting with the community in Algarve/Loulé and in Amadora. He will also participate in the festivities of Nhu Santiago, in Oeiras,” indicated a note from the Presidency.

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