From last week in Poland, followed by Ukraine, President Marcelo is now in São Tomé e Príncipe, for the 14th summit of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries. Image: Lusa/ EPA
From last week in Poland, followed by Ukraine, President Marcelo is now in São Tomé e Príncipe, for the 14th summit of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries. Image: Lusa/ EPA

Portuguese political leaders in São Tomé for 14th summit of Portuguese-Language Countries

Many of Portuguese-speaking countries are in Africa

At a moment when many eyes are on Africa, Portugal’s political leaders are in São Tomé e Príncipe for the 14th summit of the Community of Portuguese-Language Countries (CPLP).

The pertinent message this far is that Africa’s Portuguese-speaking nations are in step with the country of their native tongue, and have condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

At a point where Russia has been increasing its interests in Africa, Angola’s João Lourenço, for example – the head of State of the country that has been leading the presidency of the CPLP for the last two years – has not only condemned the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but also expressed concern about terrorist attacks in northern Mozambique.

In his speech to open the work of the 14th summit, Lourenço alluded to the of current “troubled world”, with “political, military and social upheavals taking place in various parts of our planet”.

“Our main concern in terms of security and stability” is the “Republic of Mozambique, where, in some way, each of the member states has dedicated the attention and contribution possible to help the brotherly people of Mozambique deal with the problems they have been facing in the Cabo Delgado region,” he said.

Sitting at the same table as Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva- who last week took part in the BRICS summit in South Africa, of which Moscow is a member – João Lourenço condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

“The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is always at the centre of our attention these days, and we have taken very clear positions condemning the aggression and occupation of territories of a sovereign State, the need to put an end to the war and resolve existing differences through negotiation in order to achieve lasting peace,” he went on.

The CPLP, which includes Angola, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe and East Timor, is holding this 14th conference under the slogan “Youth and Sustainability“.

This far it has been a little shambolic in that the start was delayed by two hours, with leaders arriving at a time when other heads of State hadn’t even landed, writes Lusa

“Not even the sound of traditional São Tomean drumming and dances by the Bulawê Oteca group from Roça de Santa Cecília made the time pass more quickly for those present, including the 50 military personnel who stood guard of honour for the leaders at the Palácio dos Congressos, where parliament sits and which is hosting the summit today”, said the news source.

There was a delay of half an hour with the arrival of Sao Tomé’s prime minister Patrice Trovoada at 8.53 am – the last to arrive being Brazil’s president, who is in the news today for his poor grasp of mathematics (see below).

Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa, arrived at 10.10am. He was followed ten minutes by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

The largest delegation is the Brazilian one, writes Lusa, with about 50 people, who will be in Sao Tomé and Príncipe for the shortest period of time –  not least because this is the last stage of an already long journey, which included stops in South Africa, for BRICS, and Angola.

“The return flight is scheduled for 14:00. We can’t delay it,” one of the delegation’s spokeswomen told Portugal’s State news agency, even before learning that the summit had already been delayed by two hours.

This summit will pass the baton of CPLP presidency on to São Tomé at a time when all the countries are beginning to feel the effects of the mobility agreement – facilitating visas to Portugal –  which began in January this year.

With a total of seven heads of State and three prime ministers present – only Mozambique and East Timor are not represented at the highest level – the summit will approve Paraguay’s entry as an associated observer country and will choose who will hold the subsequent presidency (after São Tomé’s stint).

So far, only Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau have shown their willingness to be host countries, says Lusa.

For the Malabo government (Equatorial Guinea), this would be the conclusion of a process of integration into the community that it considers to have been effective and adequate, despite the fact that several analysts insist on the problems of human rights and the lack of democracy in the country.

To be fair, analysts in Portugal have been telling Expresso that the CPLP has a problem with relevance, at all levels.

Portugal is represented at this 14th summit by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Prime Minister António Costa, and minister for foreign affairs, João Gomes Cravinho.

(Note: President Lula, told the BRICS gathering in South Africa: “At 77, there are at least 33 years left for me to reach 120, which is how long I want to live; I am reborn in politics!” Reports have conceded that president Lula’s rebirth is not apparent in terms of numeracy skills.)

Source material: LUSA