Portuguese Foreign Minister Rui Machete came to Berlin for talks with Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The Ministers discussed Europe’s refugee policy.
Praise for Portugal’s reform policy
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed his respect for Portugal’s reform policy aimed at overcoming its debt crisis, saying that Portugal had worked courageously and resolutely to keep moving forward and had launched a process of reform which demonstrated how economic difficulties could be overcome.
Machete thanked Germany for its support during the debt crisis and paid tribute to the good quality of the countries’ bilateral relations as well as the importance of Germany’s economic engagement in Portugal. The prospects of joint German-Portuguese investments in Angola were also discussed – they could make a contribution to diversifying Angola’s economy.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier most recently visited Portugal in May this year, when amongst other things he took part in the third German-Portuguese Forum.
Topic of European refugee policy
An important topic at the talks between the two Foreign Ministers was migration and Europe’s refugee policy with the decision made by the European Justice and Home Affairs Ministers yesterday on the distribution of 120,000 refugees. Steinmeier welcomed this decision.
Steinmeier said that it was crucial to mitigate the causes of violence, war and civil war and if possible to help bring about a political solution.
Signs of hope in Iran and Libya
He said that the example of Iran went to show that with patience, perseverance and determination it could be possible to prevent the military escalation of conflicts.
Steinmeier also expressed his hope that the understanding between the negotiating partners in Libya on a government of national unity would lead to said understanding being supported by the two parliaments in Libya, too.
For a new diplomatic initiative in Syria
Steinmeier went on to say that the agreement with Iran and understanding in Libya would improve the prospects of launching a new initiative to de-escalate the Syrian conflict. To date, however, the partners important to doing so had not yet sat around one table. Steinmeier welcomed the fact that the United States and Russia were talking to one another about this matter. To achieve a lasting de-escalation of the conflict and to shift the focus onto the most important enemy in the region – the terrorist organisation ISIS – even further efforts were needed to bring the extremely divergent positions of the individual regional actors closer together.
The German Foreign Minister announced that the attempts to resolve the Syria conflict would play an important role in the opening week of the 70th General Assembly in New York, too.
Further information on Portugal:
Political relations between Germany and Portugal are in a spirit of trust and characterised by numerous mutual visits and broad agreement on issues relating to European and foreign and security policy.…