Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos will make an official visit to Panama this week and will meet next Thursday with the country's president, Juan Carlos Varela, official sources reported today.
The meeting seeks to "strengthen bilateral relations, continue to encourage investments of Portuguese companies in Panama and enter into new alliances in port and maritime matters, as well as strengthen cooperation in tax matters," explained the Panamanian Foreign Ministry.
The meeting will also include the vice president and Panamanian chancellor, Isabel de Saint Malo, and the Minister of Economy and Finance, Eyda Varela de Chinchilla, the ministry said in a statement.
During his visit, Santos will inaugurate the embassy of the European country in Panama and will tour the interoceanic canal, where about 6 percent of world trade passes.
The Portuguese minister will also visit some infrastructure projects involving Portuguese companies, such as the restoration of the Basilica Santa María la Antigua Cathedral in Panama, located in the old town of the capital, the official note added.
The Panamanian government today showed its solidarity with the Portuguese people for the devastating fire that broke out last Friday in the southern region of the Algarve and that has razed at least 20,000 hectares.
"The Government of Panama extends its support to the security and rescue sectors, as well as the families of those affected, and conveys its confidence that the strength that characterizes the Portuguese nation will allow them to recover from the consequences of this situation", the Foreign Ministry indicated in a statement.
The Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, ruled out Wednesday that the fire will be extinguished in the "next hours", and predicted that "days" will be necessary to control it.
The characteristics of the zone, very mountainous and with a dense forest, as well as the climatic conditions, that conjugate high temperatures and little humidity, complicate extinction works.
The announcement of the Panamanian Foreign Ministry takes place a day before the visit of Portugal's Foreign Minister Augusto Santos, who will meet with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and inaugurate the new Portuguese Embassy in Panama.