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Cablegate: Visit of Portuguese President Promises Closer

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DE RUEHTO #0310 1020507
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 110507Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8746
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON 1292
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0141

UNCLAS MAPUTO 000310

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM PO MZ
SUBJECT: VISIT OF PORTUGUESE PRESIDENT PROMISES CLOSER
RELATIONS WITH MOZAMBIQUE

1. (U) Summary. Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva
made a state visit to Mozambique March 24-27, the first by a
Portuguese head of state in more than ten years. The visit
was widely described as the beginning of a new era of
cooperation between Portugal and Mozambique and was
highlighted by the signing of four cooperative agreements,
the creation of a business cooperation fund, and talk of
increased tourism between the two countries. Closer
Portuguese-Mozambique relations may provide additional
opportunities for the USG to expand our work together with
Portugal on assistance projects in Mozambique. End Summary.

2. (U) Cavaco Silva headed a high-level state delegation to
Mozambique March 24-27 that included the Ministers of
Defense and Foreign Affairs. The purpose of the visit was to
announce the beginning of a new era of cooperation between
Portugal and its former colony. The visit follows closely on
completion of the transfer of the majority interest of the
Cahora Bassa dam to Mozambique, formerly a major impediment
to improved relations between the countries.

3. (U) The two countries signed four cooperation agreements
during the visit, most notably on dual taxation and a
continuation of technical assistance to the Mozambican Armed
Forces. In an address to Parliament, Cavaco Silva
highlighted other areas of potential cooperation between the
countries, promoted the role of Portugal in bringing together
Europe and Africa, and announced the creation of a USD 7.5
million fund to help Portuguese do business in Mozambique and
to assist Mozambican businesses. President Guebuza called
Portugal "a great friend of Mozambique" and emphasized the
benefits of developing increased tourism links between the
countries.

4. (SBU) COMMENT. Partially because of the long complex
history and relationship between the two countries, Cavaco
Silva's visit received unprecedented attention by the press
and the Mozambican public. While public opinion appears
split on whether modern Portuguese attitudes remain
colonialist in nature or whether Portugal truly intends to
usher in a new area of cooperation, Cavaco Silva himself made
a favorable impression on the Mozambicans. Portuguese
investment in Mozambique remains strong, but its financial
assistance is modest compared with the US and other European
donors. Nevertheless, Portugal maintains strong contacts and
influence in the business and banking sectors, and cultural
ties (particularly language) are intact. Closer
Portuguese-Mozambique relations may provide additional
opportunities for the USG to expand our work together with
Portugal on assistance projects in Mozambique. END COMMENT
Chapman

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