NATO summit to welcome Portuguese proposal on southern flank

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The Prime Minister announced today that NATO member states have agreed to include in the summit conclusions the Portuguese proposal calling for greater attention from the Atlantic Alliance to the southern flank, namely the African continent.

“This is a summit that begins with three pieces of good news, firstly the fact that the obstacles to […] Sweden’s entry have been lifted, secondly because the final communiqué accepted a proposal from Portugal to give very significant attention to the entire southern flank,” António Costa told reporters a few minutes before the start of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The last “good news” is, in the prime minister’s view, the “unity of all in supporting Ukraine in its fight to uphold international law”.

“It was difficult for us to start this summit better, now I just hope that the summit does not spoil what started so well”, added António Costa.

For several years, Portugal has insisted, together with the other 30 member states, on the need for the Atlantic Alliance to look to the southern flank, namely Africa, at a time when attention is focused on the eastern flank, because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Wagner paramilitary group, which was one of the main forces loyal to the Kremlin in the war in Ukraine, has a strong presence on the African continent and there are also groups considered terrorists, notably al-Shabaab and militias affiliated with the self-proclaimed Islamic State, in regions such as the Sahel.

The aim is for Nato to reflect on the issue and present guidelines at next year’s summit in Washington.

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