As chairman of the ASEAN Committee Lisbon Portugal (ACLP), Ambassador Philippe Lhuillier of the Philippine Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal recently hosted a lunch meeting with Director General for External Policy Francisco Duarte Lopes of the Foreign Ministry (MNE) of the Portuguese Republic. The lunch also served as the ACLP’s formal welcome to Ambassador Krairawee Sirikul who just assumed his post at the Thai Embassy in Lisbon.
Prior to the meeting and lunch with Director General Lopes, Ambassador Mulya Wirana of Indonesia formally turned-over his Chairman’s Report for the period of July to December 2015 to incoming Chairman Ambassador Lhuillier and to Ambassador Sirikul. Ambassador Lhuillier will hold the six-month rotating Chairmanship of the ACLP until the end of June 2016 to be followed by Ambassador Sirikul after his term.
The meeting with Director General Lopes provided an opportunity for the ACLP to gain insights from the Director General on the foreign policy priorities and directions of Prime Minister António Costa and Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Silva who recently formed a new government in late November 2015 following the collapse of the minority government that won the general elections in October last year.
It was also an opportunity for free flowing and open discussions on the value and benefits of more dynamic and broader engagement and cooperation between the ASEAN Community and Portugal, particularly in the areas of trade and investment, culture, technical cooperation and education. Both sides agreed that there was a continuing need to raise awareness of each other not only with respective citizens, but also with government agencies, and more importantly, the business communities of both sides.
Director General Lopes welcomed the initiative of the three ASEAN Embassies in Lisbon to develop stronger ASEAN-Portuguese relations under the formal framework of the ACLP and assured the ACLP of the support and cooperation of his office on this matter noting that this is an endeavour of mutual benefit for all parties concerned.
Also present at the lunch meeting were MNE Deputy Director General for External Policy Virginia Pina, Director José Pedro Machado Vieira of the Directorate for Asia and Oceania (SAO) of MNE and SAO Division Chief Dr. Pedro Carmona.