Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Freitas do Amaral resigns

Friday, June 30, 2006

The Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Freitas do Amaral has resigned from his position. Replacing Freitas do Amaral in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be Luís Amado, current Minister of National Defense.

Prime Minister José Sócrates requested President Cavaco Silva to relieve Freitas do Amaral of his posts of minister of state and foreign affairs, on his request, for reasons of health, according to a cabinet press release.

In the press release, José Sócrates also proposed the nomination of the current minister of defense, Luís Amado, to replace Freitas do Amaral. José Sócrates also proposed the nomination of Nuno Severiano Teixeira as the new defense minister. Teixeira was the Internal Administration Minister in the second executive lead by António Guterres (1999/2001). Both possessions are scheduled for next Monday morning.

"In this occasion, the Prime Minister desires to underline the extraordinary contribute which, with all his experience and international prestige, the professor Diogo Freitas do Amaral gave to the Government and the national interests in the conduction of the Portuguese external politics", the press release stated.

In a press conference this Friday afternoon, Foreign Affairs spokesman António Carneiro Jacinto said that Freitas do Amaral will be operated next Monday (July 3) to an injury in the cervical column which hinders him from travelling by airplane in the coming months.

"The resignation was not motivated by politic divergences of any type, which had not existed, nor exist. It's because the aggravation of the health" of Diogo Freitas do Amaral, said the spokesman in the press conference.

The resignation of Freitas do Amaral was expected has for some time. On March, in an interview to the Portuguese newspaper "Expresso", the Minister said that he arrived home "at the end of the day completely tired" and admitted that he would not be able to handle the work of the ministry when Portugal starts to exercise its presidency of the European Union in 2007.