The Portuguese Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, arrived in Maputo last night on behalf of the European Union (EU) to conduct talks with the Mozambican authorities on the EU’s support in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado region, which has been facing a security and humanitarian crisis.
“Every moment is opportune to come to Mozambique, a fantastic country, but it is clear that this political mission should be carried out as soon as possible”, said Augusto Santos Silva to agency news Lusa.
“It was just possible to do it now and, therefore, we have to make use of every moment to collect as much information as possible and also to collect all the impressions, perspectives, proposals, suggestions that we need to consider so that the support is effective and also takes place as soon as possible ”, he detailed.
His visit comes as a result of the request for enhanced cooperation that Mozambique directed at the EU in September 2020, regarding the security situation in Cabo Delgado.
This Wednesday, Augusto Santos Silva’s agenda kicks off with a meeting with his counterpart Verónica Macamo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mozambican Cooperation, and should later be received by the President of the Republic, Filipe Nyusi.
Other meetings are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.
“I have a set of contacts at different levels so that, on my return to Europe, I can report the perspective of the Mozambican authorities,” he added.
Santos Silva thanked the agreement of the Mozambican authorities for holding the meetings, which take place in the six-month period in which Portugal assumes the rotating presidency of the EU Council.
Armed violence in the northern province of Mozambique, where Africa’s largest private multinational investment is developing, in the form of the Mozambique LNG project, is causing a humanitarian crisis with more than two thousand deaths and 560 thousand displaced people, without housing or food. The capital of the Cabo Delgado province, Pemba, has been the most affected by raids, some of which have come to be claimed by the ‘jihadist’ Islamic State group since 2019.
In response to questions from the Lusa news agency on the mission, a community spokesman said on Monday that the EU is ready “to support the Government of Mozambique”.
“We will discuss concrete options in the next political dialogues, as well as in technical meetings,” he said.
The technical meetings started yesterday via teleconference, between the different services of the EU and Mozambican authorities, namely those linked to the ministries of Interior and Defense.
“We are naturally ready to work closely with our African partners, and in particular with the SADC (Southern African Development Community), to ensure a coherent and coordinated approach,” added the same source.
It is thought that military training and equipment, humanitarian aid to the displaced population and coastal surveillance missions are some of the possible areas of cooperation that the EU will be able to offer Mozambique.