Fri. Jul 12th, 2024
Joint Statement on the 51st U.S.-Portugal Standing Bilateral Commission

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and Portugal.

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1. The United States-Portugal Standing Bilateral Commission (SBC) met for its 51st Session on May 14 in Washington to discuss the bilateral relationship, with an emphasis on reaffirming the robust bilateral security and defense partnership in the context of the 75th anniversary of NATO, the most successful and enduring alliance in history. The SBC looks forward to the July 9-11 NATO Summit in Washington, DC, and continued defense consultation at the next High-Level Bilateral Defense Dialogue meeting, planned for Fall 2024, in Washington. The SBC noted Portugal’s ongoing contributions as a founding member of NATO, including its recent participations in the Baltic Air Policing mission with an F-16 deployment, and in the Tailored Forward Presence and Enhanced Vigilance Activities in Romania, among others. The SBC noted that the United States and Portugal as NATO Allies work to integrate the Women, Peace and Security agenda across NATO core tasks and continue to advance gender equality as a reflection of Alliance values. Bilateral defense cooperation can be strengthened through new areas of collaboration, such as in cyber defense and space, including through cooperation with third parties.

2. The United States and Portugal reaffirmed their shared commitment to democratic principles and human rights as Portugal commemorates 50 years of democracy ushered in by the Carnation Revolution. The delegations confirmed their intention to strengthen the bilateral relationship within the transatlantic partnership. They welcomed the recent increases in private-sector investments in each other’s economies, as well as the March 15 implementation of the treaty visa program for eligible Portuguese nationals to conduct substantial trade and investments in the United States.

3. The delegations addressed critical infrastructure and energy sector issues which impact our shared collective security and economic competitiveness. The SBC urged continued cooperation bilaterally and in third markets and to advance opportunities under the G7 Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment and the EU’s Global Gateway. The SBC welcomed Portugal’s consideration of membership in the Blue Dot Network.

4. On Atlantic and scientific cooperation, the SBC highlighted the U.S. and Portugal’s roles as co-chairs of the Partnership for Atlantic Cooperation’s platform for Science Capacity Building and Exchange as well as Portugal’s ongoing strategic leadership through the Atlantic Centre. The delegations welcomed the Senior Coordinator for Atlantic Cooperation’s April 17 announcement of $8.5 million in new U.S. funds to support Atlantic Partnership activities such as ocean observation, marine spatial planning, scientific capacity building, and sustainable blue economy development, subject to Congressional notification. The delegations took note that the Portuguese Space Agency, along with the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, are hosting the Management and Sustainability of Outer Space Activities Conference in Lisbon May 14-15. The U.S. and Portuguese governments intend to begin discussions for Portugal to sign the Artemis Accords. The delegations also took note of the work being done by the Atlantic International Research (AIR) Centre and explored further paths for bilateral cooperation in this field. They noted that the upcoming meeting of the Science, Technology, Energy and Environment Committee should discuss these issues and be organized in a physical or hybrid format.

5. The delegations applauded the implementation of the 2023 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cancer research, treatment, and prevention in Lusophone Africa, noting the MOU’s launch with an inaugural oncology workshop convened in Lisbon April 29-30 and attended by the Portuguese Ministry of Health, the U.S. National Cancer Institute, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and oncologists from Lusophone countries. The delegations noted the implementation progress on the 2023 MOU to promote joint sustainable development initiatives between the U.S. Agency for International Development and Portugal’s Camões Institute.

6. The SBC exchanged views on the United States and Portugal’s enduring military, economic, and diplomatic support for Ukraine. The United States and Portugal remain unwavering in our political, financial, humanitarian, and military support to Ukraine and its people as they defend themselves against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war of aggression. We stand together in calling for Russia to end its brutal war and to withdraw its military forces and proxies and military equipment immediately, completely, and unconditionally from the entire internationally recognized territory of Ukraine. The Commission welcomed both sides signing of the G7 Joint Declaration of Support for Ukraine and the United States and Portugal’s plans to conclude bilateral security agreements with Ukraine in the near future. The SBC discussed concerns about third country transfers to Russia of dual-use materials and components for weapons and equipment for military production.

7. On the Middle East, the SBC underscored the urgency of de-escalation of tensions, the need to prevent a wider regional conflict, and the goal of establishing a path toward peace that results in a two-state solution, beginning with a durable ceasefire that facilitates the sustained provision of humanitarian aid at scale. The SBC welcomed the April 25 Leaders’ joint statement calling for the immediate release of all hostages in Gaza. The Commission discussed the importance of protecting freedom of navigation and international commerce in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and other critical waterways and holding the Houthis accountable for their illegal and unjustifiable attacks on commercial shipping and naval vessels. The Commission also called for the release of the MSC Aries from Iranian custody.

8. The two sides also exchanged views on the Indo-Pacific region and the challenges the region faces, including actions which threaten to undermine the rules-based international order. In the face of those challenges, including developments in the East and South China Seas, we reaffirm our commitment to work with our partners in and beyond the region to uphold international law. Both sides reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and stressed that cross-Strait differences should be resolved exclusively by peaceful means. There is no change in the one China policies of the United States or Portugal.

9. The SBC emphasized multilateral and international cooperation as the essential tools to address global challenges and to promote the stability of a rules-based international system consistent with the UN Charter. The Commission prioritized sustained engagement with emerging partners and welcomed Portugal’s role as observer to the 2024 G20 in Brazil. In this regard, the SBC exchanged views on supporting Brazil’s G20 priorities such as social inclusion, the fight against inequality and poverty, climate change, sustainable development, and international organization reform.

10. Portugal expressed its intent to endorse the Framework to Counter Foreign State Information Manipulation to mitigate the negative impacts of disinformation and propaganda globally. The United States and Portugal intend to collaborate on supporting capacity development efforts with emerging partners.

11. The SBC received the most recent Technical Commission and Labor Committee meeting reports and welcomed the Labor Committee’s progress toward strengthening the assurance of fair wages and longevity increments, as established in Article 16 of the Work Regulation. The delegations welcomed the discussion of a potential joint demolition training exercise between engineers of the Portuguese and U.S. forces to demolish structures on Lajes Field in the coming months.

12. The SBC decided to meet in the second half of 2024 to follow up on these and other bilateral initiatives.

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originally published at Politics - JISIP NEWS