President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has said that is being "permanently informed" by the government about the situation in Afghanistan and praised the action of his country in the situation.
Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has said that is being “permanently informed” by the government about the situation in Afghanistan and praised the action of his country in the situation, stating that it is doing all that it can.
In response to questions from journalists during a visit to the Lisbon Book Fair late on Thursday, de Sousa welcomed the news that the four Portuguese soldiers sent to Kabul airport are well, following a bomb attack by Islamist radicals.
The president said that he had received information from the country’s ministers of defence and foreign affairs that the soldiers “are working very well, day and night” and also that he believed that, in terms of receiving refugees from Afghanistan, “Portugal is doing what it can and what it cannot” on that front.
“First it solved the problem of Portuguese nationals, then it has been successfully dealing with the problem of Portuguese Afghans, then Afghans linked to the Portuguese presence,” he said. “Now it continues to work on Afghans for whom the Portuguese have expressed here in a very impressive way, mayors and ordinary citizens, the will to receive a very significant number, many hundreds.”
De Sousa stressed that “in this phase of transition everything is very complicated” and noted that a “difficult withdrawal is underway in a very short time” involving “thousands of people” on the ground.
“When there is a withdrawal like this there are no solutions, neither great, nor very good, nor good,” he said. “They are all bad. We have to try to make them the least bad possible.”
“Portugal has done what it should do, particularly within the framework of the European Union, NATO and in contact with those it can to achieve the objectives it has to achieve,” he reiterated, referring to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The Portuguese soldiers in Kabul, he noted, are there in order to, “with the experience that they have, help in what seems almost impossible, which is the arrival at the airport and the resolution of problems for the departure of those Afghans who, due to the connection to the Portuguese presence, we hope can leave.”