Portugal’s Minister of Defence, João Gomes Cravinho, on Wednesday defended the joint participation of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) in military missions, particularly in Mozambique, but admitted that this is not yet possible.

“The CPLP currently has no mechanisms to intervene, nor has Mozambique asked the CPLP for help,” Cravinho told members of the parliamentary committee on Defence, who today heard the minister about the situation in Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique.

“I do not rule out the possibility, on the contrary, I would like to see an intervention as the CPLP, particularly to support other member countries of the community, with capacity for training, and response to emergency situations that would require military capabilities, but currently things in the area of defence within the CPLP are not developed,” the minister said during the hearing.

Speaking to Lusa at the end of the meeting, Cravinho explained that “the discussion about the possibility of having joint peace missions is recent within the CPLP” and noted that there are advantages in that some countries are used to contributing to peace missions in the United Nations, and others have already received the so-called ‘blue helmets’ of the UN.

“The CPLP has countries such as Portugal and Brazil, with a long tradition of involvement in UN peace missions, and there is the case of East Timor, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, which have had UN missions in their territories and this in itself is a great asset, allowing the CPLP to develop, with dialogue between the ministers of defence, participation in peace missions”.

On a bilateral level, Portugal plans to send around 60 soldiers to help train Mozambican troops to combat 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 the “re-establishment of 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 at the end of June the deployment of forces to northern Mozambique and an advance mission was due to arrive in the country this week, which did not happen.

In addition to these forces, a first contingent of Rwandan troops arrived in Mozambique on 9 June to give support to the country under a bilateral agreement.

Armed groups have terrorised 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.

Source: Angola Press News Agency

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