"Portugal has been a friend and an ally to the United States, and we greatly appreciate all the work that we do together around the world," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said recently after meeting with the Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Portas and his delegation at the State Department in Washington DC.
Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Portas discussed the economic challenges now facing Portugal and Europe, and Secretary Clinton commended both the Portuguese people and their government for their impressive resolve in putting aside political differences and implementing difficult austerity measures to stabilize the Portuguese economy and set it up for the long-term. "The United States will stand with Portugal as it continues to make economic reforms that return Portugal to a path of growth and sustainable opportunity," said Secretary Clinton.
Even during this time of economic challenge, Portugal has continued to work with the United States and NATO's International Security Assistant Force to help stabilize and secure Afghanistan. Portuguese troops serve in Afghanistan, helping to train and mentor Afghan security forces, facilitating a transition that remains high priority for both our nations.
Portugal has also played a key diplomatic role in North Africa and the Middle East during the democratic transitions of the Arab Awakening. As head of the United Nations' Libya Sanctions Committee, and as a member of the United Nations' Security Council, Portugal has overseen the release of more than $16 billion in frozen assets to help fund humanitarian activity in Libya and allow the Transitional National Council to provide basic security and public services to the Libyan people.
Portugal has also worked with its partners in the European Union to roll out sanctions against Syria. "We both hope that this strong message will compel Asad and his regime to change course and cease killing and detaining Syrians who wish to have a better life," Secretary Clinton concluded. "On these and many other critical issues of global security, prosperity, and peace, Portugal is a leader and a valued partner."