Marcelo recalls “vigorous dialogues” with “peers from sister countries” on war in Ukraine


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The President of the Republic today recalled “vigorous dialogues” he had with heads of state from “sister countries” on the African continent or Latin America about the war in Ukraine, and some of the difficulties in those conversations.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was speaking at the presentation of the new book by former Cape Verdean head of state Jorge Carlos Fonseca, entitled “Ukrainian Writings”, which took place at the Cape Verde Cultural Center in Lisbon.

In a speech closing the presentation of the work, the Portuguese head of state recalled the European reaction to the conflict in Ukraine, which began in February 2022 after the invasion of the Russian Federation, with “polls, public opinions” that were “overwhelmingly pro-Ukrainian”, stressing that this “was not so” in Africa, Latin America or Asia.

“I had vigorous dialogues at the time of the Oceans summit [of the United Nations, held in Lisbon], the war had already started a few months ago, we were in the summer of last year, with pairs of sister countries that only did not end very badly because we got along very well, from the point of view of people-to-people, State-to-State and person-to-person relations, but very hard (…) the ice with which the conversation ended…”, described Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

The President of the Republic explained some of the difficulties he had in talking to other heads of state from various continents about the war, detailing that one of them was explaining “first, that it was not a European war, [it was] between two neighboring states that had old, historical quarrels, and that, therefore, it was a matter that should be resolved between them without intervention by anyone else”.

“Secondly, that it was not a war that was creating economic and financial problems for the whole world, and therefore it was very unfair towards the other continents, because it ignored the other continents. Thirdly, that it was not able to explain to the other continents that it was global in nature and that not only did everyone suffer, but everyone was implicated in what was at stake,” he said.

“I was, for example, in African countries, and the prominence given to the war was, after that initial more passionate period, diminished in the media, and it was tiny. Much more important was what was happening there in neighboring countries or internal issues, and therefore it was very difficult to explain,” he detailed.

Marcelo recalled a vote at the United Nations in which the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) “split, it was not in half: a minority voted to condemn [the Russian action] and the majority either left the room or abstained”. Marcelo added: “It was one, then that was changed immediately afterwards, but it was talked about”.

“The fact is that this gives this book, at the time it began to be written, an unprecedented side, because it was a passionate option, it was an affective thing”, considered Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa about the work of the former Cape Verdean head of state Jorge Carlos Fonseca.

The Portuguese head of state left several compliments to the former President of Cape Verde, whom he considered “a friend”, saying that Jorge Carlos Fonseca “is a great former President” and joking that he is also “training for it”.

Jorge Carlos Fonseca also, moments before, highlighted the relationship “of friendship, a lot of complicity” between himself and Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

“Ukrainian Writings” is the first book that the former President of the Republic of Cape Verde Jorge Carlos Fonseca publishes at the National Mint Press of Portugal, in the collection “Olhares”.

This is a collection that the public publisher dedicates to the essay genre, composed of one hundred fragments, including poetry and poetic prose, which reflect the conflict in Eastern Europe from the Atlantic islands of Cape Verde.

Jorge Carlos Fonseca, 72, was President of Cape Verde for two terms, from 2011 to 2021, and has so far published 27 books, including legal, poetry, short stories, prose, chronicles.

Politician (from the ruling Movement for Democracy – MpD), jurist in the areas of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Constitutional Law, university professor and writer, he was the first Minister of Foreign Affairs after the first free elections in Cape Verde (1991) and was elected the fourth President on August 7, 2011 – and re-elected in 2016 – after having failed the election in the first attempt, in 2001.

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