Portugal ‘caught between rock and hard place’
The war raging between Israel and Hamas is creating endless negative consequences for Portugal.
An opinion posted on social media by tech billionaire Paddy Cosgrave has seen the future of Lisbon’s Web Summit plunged into uncertainty; has called into question a multi-million contract (securing the summit for Lisbon) and signed with City Council – and now a speech made in Luanda by Portuguese MP Duarte Pacheco has reportedly left parliamentarians from Palestine, Iran and other delegations “in uproar”.
With Europe already seen as challenging the US/ UK stance over the conflict – because it favours a humanitarian pause in hostilities – every day seems to bring another ‘delicate situation’, no matter how carefully people try to tread.
Paddy Cosgrave has already apologised profusely for any hurt that his personal comments (uploaded onto ‘X’) caused – but, according to reports, the exodus from the summit is still looking grim.
Comment in Correio da Manhã today remarks that the blanking of the event by top tech companies could see it end up “little more than a sneeze from C-3PO” (a reference to the robot from Star Wars).
Israel has not yet relented on the country’s ban on participation – and in tech terms, without an Israeli presence, other companies could lose interest…
Lisbon mayor Carlos Moedas has said he is doing his utmost to save the summit which is “very important for the city”, as left wing councillors are meeting tomorrow to decide whether they will vote against council money being spent on it. “The money could be used in the construction of four crèches for 200 babies, or in the recovery of two primary schools, to improve the lives of 250 children”, they argue.
Meantime, in Luanda, arguably even worse has transpired. Duarte Pacheco – the PSD MP who is currently also president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union – gave a speech about the war that upset several delegations.
According to international reports, “the delegation of Iran, including several lawmakers and Iran’s accredited ambassador to Angola, as well as the representatives of many other Islamic nations walked out of the meeting in protest”.
Lusa reports that representatives from Kuwait, Syria, Algeria and South Africa “considered the speech biased”.
Tasnimnews.com gives a few more details, calling the speech “biased in favour of the Zionist regime” and for having branded what it calls “the Palestinian resistance as terrorist groups”.
“The protest came shortly after Duarte Pacheco, who is preparing to end his three-year term, gave the opening speech at the meeting, which is taking place this week in Luanda”, explains Lusa.
“Before the musical moment that was to follow the ceremony, some parliamentarians passed in front of the rostrum, where the Portuguese MP, the Angolan president and the speaker of parliament were standing, expressing indignation and shouting “shame on you”, an uproar that lasted a few minutes”.
Said a source: “(Duarte Pacheco) talked about Israel’s right to defend itself, but he didn’t talk about Israeli crimes against civilians, especially children”.
Duarte Pacheco’s point – that Angola is the right country to talk about peace – was thus lost in a fug of fury that may dissipate over the course of the week as 1,500 parliamentarians from 130 countries gather under the slogan “Parliamentary Action for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”, in what is the 147th General Assembly of the IPU.