South Africa and Portugal have signed an Agreement on Defence Cooperation, which is expected to provide a legal framework for closer cooperation for the two countries.
The agreement was signed following official talks at the Union Buildings in Tshwane, where President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted Portugal President Marcelo Rebelo De Sousa on a State visit.
During the visit, the two Presidents discussed opportunities of mutual benefit in defence, science and innovation, education and energy.
Speaking during a media briefing, President Ramaphosa said the agreement is a "great signal" to both countries.
“We are keen to see higher levels of trade and investment between Portugal and South Africa across a range of sectors.
“The Agreement on Defence Cooperation, which was signed following the official talks, is expected to provide a legal framework for closer cooperation in this area of the relationship,” the President said.
Explaining what the agreement means, President Ramaphosa said the two countries want to learn from each other, as they are both involved in peacekeeping missions across the globe.
“There is a lot we can learn from each other around the defence of our borders and the maritime [space]. We are also two countries that happen to get involved in peacekeeping missions. Being able to cooperate on defence level through an agreement also enhances that.
“In as much as there is a conflict that is raging in another part of the world, it does not mean that we should be deterred from entering into agreements that will bring us closer and cooperate much more effectively. This agreement is a great signal to both countries,” he said.
The two Heads of State also had an opportunity to discuss issues of regional and international importance, including the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
President Ramaphosa said they also discussed effective responses to other issues that confront humanity today, such as climate change.
“We consider visits such as this one to be important not only for South Africa, but also for the African continent. The operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area will bring great benefits not only to African countries but also to other countries that have trade and investment ties with the continent.
“In conclusion, I wish President Rebelo de Sousa and his delegation all the best for the remainder of their visit to South Africa and a safe journey home,” he said. –SAnews.gov.za