WASHINGTON: Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke by phone on Monday with Portuguese Minister of National Defense João Cravinho to reaffirm the robust security partnership between the United States and our close NATO Ally Portugal.
The Secretary congratulated Minister Cravinho on the launch of Portugal’s Atlantic Centre on May 14, in the Azores, and thanked the Minister for hosting U.S. forces at Lajes Field.
Secretary Austin also noted Portugal’s productive term holding the Presidency of the European Union (EU) Council. The Secretary welcomed the recent EU decision allowing the U.S. to join the Permanent Structure Cooperation (PESCO) military mobility project, and viewed this as a positive step toward greater NATO and EU cooperation.
The two leaders discussed the geostrategic importance of the Atlantic and challenges along Europe’s southern flank. Secretary Austin recognized Portugal’s significant contributions to African security, including the recent deployment of Portuguese military trainers to Mozambique. The Secretary noted the potentially destabilizing influence of Chinese security partnerships in Africa.