Zim, Portugal consolidate ties Outgoing Portuguese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Miguel De Calheiros Velozo, pays a farewell courtesy call on President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare yesterday. — Picture: Innocent Makawa.

Wallace Ruzvidzo-Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWE and Portugal enjoy excellent bilateral relations which both countries continue to nurture through cooperation in many fields, outgoing Portuguese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Miguel De Calheiros Velozo has said.

Zimbabwe’s appeal in diplomatic circles continues to increase as the Second Republic’s engagement and re-engagement drive bears fruit.

The Portuguese Ambassador yesterday paid a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare where he reaffirmed the strong bond between the two countries.

In an interview after a closed-door meeting with the President, Ambassador Velozo said the two countries were working on improving co-operation in various fields.

During his tenure, Ambassador Velozo said he had managed to accomplish his mission of strengthening ties between Zimbabwe and Portugal, something he was “very happy” about. 

“Bilateral relations in both countries are excellent, so we could stress that of course. We work bilaterally in some fields that of course we can improve, but I worked a lot with my colleagues as well within the frameworks of the European Union. In both areas I am very happy and I feel my mission is accomplished here in Zimbabwe.

“It is not an easy country for a European diplomat because you are very far away and personally I had my family there and I had two years of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

Ambassador Velozo described his stay in Zimbabwe as “very good”, adding that he had been thoroughly impressed by Zimbabweans’ pleasantness. 

“In terms of work it was very interesting and the richness of the country too. I travelled a lot of course, it was a very good experience so I will leave Zimbabwe with the satisfaction of knowing the country well.

“And the people were what impressed me the most, because they are very affable people. When I do my walks everyday everybody salutes me so I think they are people with lots of soul,” he said.

Earlier in the year, Portugal’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mr Francisco Andre urged Zimbabwe and Portugal to scale up relations and continue working together for the two countries’ mutual benefit.

He said the Portuguese Government had been encouraged by Zimbabwe’s economic growth trajectory under the Second Republic, adding that the country is also an important partner on the international scene.

“We are facing tremendous challenges due to the consequences of what is going on in the world right now,” said Mr Andre.

“None of us live isolated in the world. We have common problems with common solutions and for two countries that know each other so much, we must work together for the future.

“Zimbabwe is a very important country playing a crucial role in the region and we all must not only recognise that, but we should encourage Zimbabwe to play this important role in the region and beyond.

“This is why the voice of Zimbabwe is so important to be heard at the highest possible level, especially under the framework of the United Nations.”

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