The two governments signed today, in Praia, the new Framework Program for Cooperation in the Defense Field, which will run from 2021 to 2026, with the Minister of Defense of Portugal underlining the strategic importance of the Atlantic Ocean for both countries, central for the definition of this new period of cooperation and in view of the new international reality.
“This context means that Portugal and Cape Verde, consubstantiated in this new framework programme, put the possibility of working together also in international peace and stability missions. Both Portugal and Cape Verde are countries that we can aspire to contribute in a very positive way to these challenges that the international situation poses to us, “said João Gomes Cravinho.
The government official explained a framework program “that somehow makes a paradigmatic evolution” of what has been done so far, to envisage a new level of cooperation with the Armed Forces of Cape Verde, whose staff is just over a thousand operational .
“From a logic essentially of training and training, which continues, but also towards a logic of interoperability and joint work, it faces challenges and concerns that are shared”, he said.
Since the beginning of cooperation between the two countries, more than a thousand Cape Verdean soldiers have been trained in Portugal, 96 of them in the framework program still in force, according to data from the Portuguese authorities in March, a process that was not affected by the covid pandemic. -19, and also involving regular joint patrols in Cape Verde waters and the call of at least two Portuguese Navy ships in Cape Verdean ports every year.
“It is a joy and a great satisfaction to be able to sign the cooperation agreement for the coming years. An agreement that is a new cycle, a cycle that naturally has a strong component of continuity, but it is also a response to new times, new challenges that we live,” stated the Portuguese minister.
João Gomes Cravinho underlined that the program signed today with the Cape Verdean counterpart, Janine Lélis, could be adapted, depending on the needs and considering the level of bilateral relations.
“A relationship for which we didn’t need to invent new adjectives: it’s a fraternal relationship, a deep relationship, an old relationship, a relationship between two countries and two peoples who know each other well and who know they can trust each other, who know that a great facility to work together and that they also have legitimate expectations of a prosperous, happy relationship in the future”, he stressed.
For the government official, the signing of the Defense Cooperation Framework Program “seeks to live up to this feeling and this relationship”.
“It is based on the one hand, in terms of the relationship with regard to the superior structure of the Cape Verdean Armed Forces which, I know, have ambitions for these coming years, and on the other hand on an aspect that is common to both countries that is the huge Atlantic challenge (…) An ocean that has been gaining a new geostrategic generation in the times we live in, geostrategic related that has to be answered by our instruments and by our defensive posture”, he emphasized .
This new agreement was signed within the scope of the National Defense Day commemorations in Cape Verde, which is marked on Saturday, with a military parade in Praia, in the presence of the Portuguese minister.
“Your presence here only confirms, in fact, what has been a special relationship of friendship and cooperation between Cape Verde and Portugal,” said the Cape Verdean Defense Minister.
With this new framework of cooperation, highlighted Janine Lélis, “new horizons and new opportunities are opened”, but “in line with what has been happening for many years”, with the exchange of experiences and “reciprocal advantages”.
“A cooperation that has yielded very important results”, emphasized the minister, recalling the legal and normative instruments developed in recent years within the scope of the organization of the Armed Forces, “by far superior” today, as a result of Portuguese support.
In addition to the continuity of capitation and training actions, a ministry assumes that the new program has a “strong component” for the “reinforcement and control” of Cape Verdean waters, from logo under the joint inspection treaty or the continuity of the program Open sea.
“We are well aware that the journey against correction is not done in isolation, it is not done and cannot be achieved and that it is in fact a community of efforts and intensification that leads us to really be able to give the best answers”, stated.
Janine Lélis guaranteed that the new cooperation framework with Portugal will allow Cape Verde to “also contribute with its strength and energy to what is security at a global level”, taking into account Cape Verde’s supervision in the Atlantic.
He also highlighted the possibility of “strengthening naval equipment” and even “building maintenance resources” in Cape Verde, using current means, to ensure the response capacity of the Armed Forces.