Ban discusses issues of UN concern with Portugal's president

21 November 2010

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the President of Portugal, Aníbal Cavaco Silva, have had discussions on various issues of common concern, including the situation in Guinea-Bissau, Afghanistan, Sudan and Timor-Leste.

On Timor-Leste, where 195 Portuguese police officers are serving in the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the fledgling nation, known as UNMIT, the Secretary-General requested Mr. Cavaco Silva's Government to send more female police officers to serve in the mission.

“I am very grateful for the strong support of the Portuguese Government to the objectives and goals of the United Nations and I would continue to benefit [from] such commitment to multilateralism and their experience and expertise in many parts of the world,” Ban, who was in Portugal yesterday to participate in the Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Afghanistan, told reporters after the meeting with Mr. Cavaco Silva.

The Secretary-Secretary said the situation in Guinea-Bissau was an important issue on the UN agenda, adding that he has been working closely with Portuguese representative to the UN, as well as Brazil and Angola and other countries, to achieve long-lasting stability in the West African country.

Guinea-Bissau has been beset by coups and political instability since it became an independent country in the early 1970s. The UN has an integrated peacebuilding office on the ground, UNOGBIS, tasked with helping to promote stability.

In April, troops under the command of then Deputy Chief of General Staff, Major General António N´djai, took control of the armed forces' headquarters, detaining the Chief of General Staff, Vice Admiral José Zamora Induta, and briefly holding Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior.

On Sudan, Mr. Ban and Mr. Cavaco Silva discussed the forthcoming referendum on the self-determination of Southern Sudan.

The Secretary-General congratulated Mr. Cavaco Silva and his Government for Portugal's election as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, starting next year, saying it was a testimony to the country's strong commitment multilateralism.


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