Latvia's President official visit to Portugal
Egils Levits, president of Latvia, is in Portugal on a three day official visit. Photo: Tiago Petinga/ Lusa

Portugal should be “active in global south” over Ukraine – Latvian president

Egils Levits impresses need for Portugal to “explain situation” to ‘close’ countries 

President of Latvia Egils Levits has stressed the importance of Portugal taking an “active role” in the global south in convincing countries of the need for Ukraine to re-establish territorial integrity.

“Portugal historically has very close ties with Africa, Latin America, Brazil and Asia; is very active in relations with the so-called global south” he said in Lisbon today. Thus the country has the possibility to “explain the situation and why it is in the interest of all the countries of the world, of the 193 UN member states, that Ukraine should fully restore territorial integrity”.

Levits was making a joint statement with Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa after an official reception at the Belém Palace on the first day of his official visit to this country.

In his statement in English, and without allowing questions by journalists, Levits highlighted both countries’ contribution to peace and security in Europe as members of the European Union and NATO, and in particular the Western military alliance’s air policing in the Baltic region, with Portugal’s participation.

Previously, in his own statement, also in English and in a reference to the conflict in Ukraine, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa stressed Portugal’s role in the “involvement of other countries” and the need to “raise awareness”.

It is not just a European war, it is not a local war, it is not a regional war, it is a global war”, said Portugal’s head of State. 

“It is very often the case that countries on the different continents, being distant from what they see as a European conflict, do not understand how important it is to have this global vision. (…) I am talking about African countries, the Near and Middle East and other countries, but specifically these neighbouring areas where Russian interventions are trying to weaken the southern and south-eastern flanks of the European Union and NATO.” 

Ukraine’s war was a dominant theme in the Latvian leader’s brief statement, as he denounced aggression that aims to “extinguish” a sovereign and independent country.

It is a common duty to support resistance, in the name of the principles of international law and in a context of Russia’s “global challenge to security and world peace”, he said.

This will be a three-day official visit by the president of the small Baltic State. Levits has been president since 2019. He has a background in law and political science.

As to his message about Portugal explaining the situation of Ukraine to countries with which it has close ties, this is surprisingly topical: President Lula da Silva of Brazil is due to attend a Luso-Brazilian summit in this country in the next couple of weeks – and only recently made statements about Ukraine conceding territory in the interests of “tranquility”.

Source material: LUSA