Defence deal with South Africa to boost maritime safety in Portuguese speaking ‘Atlantic states’

Defence deal with South Africa to boost maritime safety in Portuguese speaking ‘Atlantic states’

Deal involves reciprocal visits of Navy and Air Force assets; joint military training exercises

The concentration of government ministers, the president of the Portuguese Republic and chiefs of the Armed Forces in South Africa is yielding all kinds of agreements, not least a defence deal to strengthen  maritime security with the Community of Portuguese-Language Countries (CPLP) on the Atlantic coast.

Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo has been telling Lusa: “We look to South Africa as an essential partner for maritime security in the South Atlantic”

Aside from maritime safety, bilateral cooperation in the area of defence covers seven other areas, according to Lusa, listing:

  • Strategic dialogue on defence policy
  • Hydrography, cartography and military geography 
  • Peacekeeping operations
  • Defence industry and technologies
  • Military health 
  • Military education, training and capacity building 
  • Gender issues and the role of women both in conflict prevention and peace building.

The two countries have also agreed to conduct reciprocal visits of Navy and Air Force assets, joint military training exercises and will set up a Joint Defence Commission, to meet every two years, to assess implementation of all the above.

Commitment to this new Defence Cooperation agreement was reinforced with the arrival in Cape Town on June 4 of Portuguese naval patrol vessel Setúbal and submarine Arpão (South Africa has at least three submarines of the same type stationed at the naval base at Simon’s town, near Cape Town).

President Marcelo has said this visit to South Africa – involving so many government ministers, including the prime minister, represents “the opening of a new phase in bilateral relations – after “a certain distance and unawareness”.

It also comes in the context of recent issues and questions regarding South Africa’s relationship with Russia.

Source material: Lusa