INTRODUCTION: In Portugal Arab League Secretary General Chedli Klibi has expressed the hope that Portugal will not allow the United States to use the Azores as a staging post for any intervention in the Middle East.
SV Portuguese Foreign Minister greeting Klibi. (2 SHOTS)
SV INT ZOOM TO SCU Klibi speaking in French.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: In Portugal Arab League Secretary General Chedli Klibi has expressed the hope that Portugal will not allow the United States to use the Azores as a staging post for any intervention in the Middle East. Mr. Klibi was speaking on arrival in Lisbon on Monday (20 April) at the outset of his two-day visit to the country.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Klibi was greeted at the airport by Portuguese Foreign Minister Goncalves Pereira. The Arab League is hoping to open an office in Lisbon soon and Mr. Klibi will be discussing the matter with the Foreign Minister during his stay.
Mr. Klibi noted the good relations between Portugal and the Arab world, but expressed concern that Portugal might allow the United States to use its facilities at Lajes Air Base in the Azores. Portugal allowed the United States to fly arms to Israel through Lajes during the 1973 Middle East war, but that was before Portugal's 1974 coup d'etat which overthrew its rightwing government. The United States lease on the base expires in 1983, and negotiations are expected to begin this year on its possible renewal.
Mr. Klibi is due to have talks during his stay with Prime Minister Francisco Pinto Balsemao, who returned from a visit to the Arabian Gulf on Sunday (19 April). The Prime Minister said on his return that the Arab world was a priority area for Portugal's foreign policy. Portugal has to rely heavily on the Mideast for its oil imports and was hit badly by the Arab oil embargo in 1973 which was in retaliation for Portugal's collaboration with the United States in the Mideast war.