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"I would like to see the CPLP intervene in defense together," says portuguese defense minister

The Portuguese Minister of National Defense, João Gomes Cravinho, defended this Wednesday the joint participation of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) in military missions, namely in Mozambique, but admitted that this is not yet possible.

: Ministro da Defesa Nacional de Portugal, João Gomes Cravinho
Ministro da Defesa Nacional de Portugal, João Gomes Cravinho  

"The CPLP currently has no mechanisms to intervene, nor has Mozambique asked the CPLP for help," João Gomes Cravinho told members of the parliamentary committee on National Defence, who heard the minister on Wednesday about the situation in Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique, at the request of the CDS/PP.

"I do not rule out the possibility, on the contrary, I would like to see in the CPLP the development of intervention as CPLP, particularly to support other member countries of the community, and a capacity that can have both valences as training, and response to emergency situations that would require military capabilities, but there is still no institutional maturity in this area of defense to be made under the CPLP," said the minister during the hearing.

Speaking to Lusa at the end of the meeting, Gomes Cravinho explained that "the discussion about the possibility of having joint peacekeeping missions is recent within the CPLP" and recalled that there are advantages in that some countries are accustomed to contributing to peacekeeping missions in the United Nations, and others have already received the so-called 'blue helmets' of the UN.

"The CPLP has countries like Portugal and Brazil, with long tradition of development in UN peace missions, and there is the case of East Timor, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, which had UN missions in their territories and this in itself is a great asset, allows the CPLP to develop, with dialogue between the ministers of defense, a value of participation in peace missions, "said the minister to Lusa.

On a bilateral level, Portugal has planned to send about 60 military personnel to help train Mozambican troops in the fight against terrorism.

Last week, the European Union (EU) approved the launch of a military training mission in Mozambique aimed at "training and supporting the Mozambican Armed Forces" in "restoring security" in Cabo Delgado, which will be led by Portuguese Brigadier-General Nuno Lemos Pires.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) approved at an extraordinary summit in late June the sending of forces to northern Mozambique, and an advance mission should have arrived in the country this week, which did not happen.

In addition to these forces, a first contingent of Rwandan troops arrived in Mozambique on June 9. They will also support the Lusophone country, under a bilateral agreement, but this presence has been contested by the opposition, which criticizes the fact that the government has not informed the parliament.

Armed groups have terrorized Cabo Delgado province since 2017, with some attacks claimed by the Islamic State group. There are more than 2,800 deaths, according to the ACLED conflict registration project, and 732,000 displaced people, according to the United Nations.