Riyadh–Portugal’s Defense Minister José Alberto Azeredo Lopes stressed the need to unify forces to resolve the Syrian crisis, noting that the international community should assume its responsibilities towards the Syrian people.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper on Thursday, the Portuguese official said that Saudi Arabia plays a pivotal political and economic role in the region and praised the Kingdom for its continuous efforts to fight terrorism, especially through the establishment of the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism.
“Saudi Arabia plays a very important role in the Middle East and works efficiently to establish political stability and resolve ongoing crises,” Lopes said.
He also stressed the Kingdom’s contribution to international peace and security, adding that it is an active and major member of the United Nations.
He said his country was keen on working closely with Saudi Arabia in all issues of common interest.
Lopes noted that the establishment of the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism was an interesting and highly appreciated project, adding that such initiative shows Saudi Arabia’s “great wisdom” in dealing with urgent issues.
He also stressed that his country was ready to cooperate with the Kingdom in this regard.
Commenting on the Syrian crisis, Lopes said the international community and the U.N. should unify efforts to promote peace. He added that the international community should assume its full responsibility to save the Syrian people from the constant sufferings and resolve the refugees’ crisis.
“In this context, I have carefully listened to the Saudi vision towards this crisis, and I see that the Kingdom is deploying great efforts to promote stability and reach a political solution to the war in Syria,” the Portuguese minister said.
On a different note, Lopes said the situation in Yemen was “unfortunately catastrophic and very complicated.” He stressed the need to abide by U.N. Security Council resolutions and to resume political negotiations.
“Saudi Arabia had successfully worked with the U.N. to launch dialogue”, Lopes said, adding that he hoped that the current ceasefire, despite its fragility, would lead to the resumption of political talks between the Yemeni warring parties.
The Portuguese defense minister was on an official visit to Riyadh, where he met with top Saudi officials including Deputy Crown Prince, Defense Minister and Deputy Premier Mohammed bin Salman.
He stressed that his meeting with Prince Mohammed was highly important, as both officials discussed strategic cooperation in fighting terrorism.
He added that his meetings in Riyadh highlighted the need to strengthen ties between the two countries and promote cooperation in the different political, economic and security fields.
Commenting on the meetings of the Saudi-Portuguese Joint Committee, which were held in Riyadh earlier this week, the Portuguese defense minister stressed that the meetings of the 3rd session of the Saudi-Portuguese Joint Committee contributed to enhancing partnership between the two countries, stressing that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia represents a main partner in the Middle East.
He added that the two sides agreed to coordinate efforts to enhance trade exchange, while stressing the importance of expanding cooperation between both countries’ private sectors, in addition to holding a round of negotiations to encourage agreement and protection of investments between Saudi Arabia and Portugal.