The Business Year

Marcelo Nuno Duarte Rebelo de Sousa

PORTUGAL - Diplomacy

Global Peace

President, Portugal


Marcelo Nuno Duarte Rebelo de Sousa is a Portuguese politician serving as the 20th and current President of Portugal since March 9, 2016. Previously, he was a government minister and member of parliament, a law professor, journalist, political analyst, and pundit. Born in Lisbon, Rebelo de Sousa is a university graduate, Doctorate, Professor, and publicist specializing in constitutional law and administrative law from the faculty of law of the University of Lisbon, where he taught law.

Portugal believes that multilateral action, political dialogue, and diplomatic wisdom are the only possible route to harmonious coexistence between nations and peoples.

The reform of the UN requires the commitment of all member states. Maintaining the status quo is a way of gutting multilateralism and multiplying risks, conflicts without prevention, underdevelopment, and the violation of human rights and human dignity. Not reforming the Security Council with a broad-based consensus is to ignore the geopolitics of the 21st century, which requires, at the very least, the presence of the African continent, Brazil, and India.

Our view of the world situation and of the role of the UN explains our positions on so-called regional questions, but which are global in scope. Let me now dwell on some that are of special relevance to Portugal: The strengthening of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), currently presided by Cabo Verde, to be followed by Angola, whose contributions to stability and development I wish to highlight. CPLP enjoys magnificent cooperation with the UN and pursues the goal of seeing the Portuguese language—one of the most widely spoken in the world—adopted as an official language of the UN; the steps taken in Guinea-Bissau in preparation for elections in November; the growing importance of the African Union, its key uniting role for peace and sustainable development, the intensification of the partnership with the UN and the historic step of the “Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship” between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Our wish is for the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo to be held in a safe, free, and fair manner and that the results will be respected by all; the important developments on the Korean Peninsula opening positive prospects for complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization and demonstrating the commitment and courage of the parties involved; and the signing of the Maritime Boundary Treaty between Australia and Timor-Leste under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the UN.

Unfortunately, certain parts of the Middle East and the Maghreb continue to show signs of permanent political, social and economic instability. In Libya, the international community must unite to assist with the humanitarian and security situation and the creation of a solid state. Yemen remains the scene of one of the greatest humanitarian crises today, especially affecting the most vulnerable, women and children. Only negotiated political solutions, through the mediation of the UN and respect for international humanitarian law, will be able to reverse this increasingly tragic situation. Equally tragic is the humanitarian crisis in Syria, with one of the largest flows of refugees within and out of the region.

Here, also, only a substantive, inclusive and UN-mediated political solution will tend to ensure effective and broad-based international support for reconstruction, in the absence of which there will be apparent, sporadic and transitory agreements, but not the lasting peace. In any case, stabilization and peace in the Middle East will only be possible with the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Common sense demands the resumption of a credible negotiation process, addressing all the final status issues, including the question of Jerusalem, and leading to a practicable two-state solution based on coexistence by Israel and Palestine in peace and security.

As mentioned by Secretary-General António Guterres, true patriotism is only complete with cosmopolitanism. Portugal believes that multilateral action, political dialogue, and diplomatic wisdom are the only possible route to harmonious coexistence between nations and peoples. A short-term view or views, however appealing they may appear to be, are just a flash in the pan, which does not last, will not last, and will not solve the world’s true problems: development, justice, security, and effective respect for the rights of those who are the reason for our mandate and our presence in this General Assembly.
As Nelson Mandela said: “A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.” This is the noble mission of this institution; it is also the reason for Portugal’s deep commitment to the UN.



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