It’s time for “serious, sustained dialogue”, says António Costa
Portugal’s PM António Costa delivered his speech at the United Nation’s General Assembly yesterday after spending the week in New York, involved in various initiatives. As speeches go, it fell in line with UN/ NATO thinking while ‘at home in Portugal’ polls are showing a creeping percentage of the population are prepared to ‘cede’ in some way, shape or form to Russia, just to bring an end to this war and its devastating consequences for the world.
Says Lusa: “Prime Minister António Costa criticised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “irresponsible threats to resort to nuclear weapons” and called on Russia to cease hostilities rather than escalate the conflict.
“Russia must cease hostilities and allow the creation of a serious and sustained dialogue oriented towards ceasefire and peace. This is not the time for Russia to escalate the conflict or make irresponsible threats to resort to nuclear weapons,” he said.
“The prime minister began his speech, in Portuguese, by mentioning that the UN was created with the objectives of maintaining world peace and security and of “sparing future generations from the scourge of war” in 1945, adding: “77 years later, we still have not achieved these objectives. Around the world, many children, and even adults, have never known peace”.
“He then spoke of the “unjustified and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, in flagrant violation of international law, in violation of the Charter of the United Nations”, with “devastating effects for the Ukrainian people, brutally affecting civilian populations”.
Mr Costa said “the gravity of the acts committed makes an independent, impartial and transparent investigation imperative so that the crimes committed do not go unpunished” and made a point of “condemning, once again, Russian aggression” and reiterating “Portugal’s support for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine”.
The prime minister also expressed Portugal’s solidarity with “all those who, throughout the world, and particularly in Africa, are suffering from the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”, stressing that “the most vulnerable have been the ones who have felt the impact of energy and food crisis the most – after being buffeted by almost three years of pandemic crisis”.
He, therefore, wanted to “make it clear and unequivocal that the necessary sanctions applied to Russia cannot affect, directly or indirectly, the production, transport and payment of cereals or fertilisers”.
“We welcome the efforts of the entire United Nations system, in particular its Secretary-General, António Guterres, towards the resolution of this conflict and the mitigation of the harmful effects resulting from it, such as the food crisis,” he said.
Following the delivery of his speech, Mr Costa headed home where today he is expected to meet PSD leader Luís Montenegro in a bid to (finally) thrash out “future methodology” on a solution for a new airport for the Lisbon region.
This topic has long been described as “decades late”, and “of utmost urgency”. When the Socialists seemed to be opting for a new airport in Montijo, the message was that the country could thus expect “up to 50 million tourists per year in Portugal”.
Since then, so much has changed – not least the slipping into recession of economies that will almost certainly clobber short-term expectations for growth in tourism in Portugal.
Meantime, Expresso today headlines with “Portuguese most hit by crisis already want to make concessions to Russia”. An ICS/ ISCTE poll shows that 54% of the country still believes the only option is for Ukraine to continue to resist. But 32% are ready to concede to (some of?) Russia’s demands.