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LN: Zeman invited to Portugal thanks to Mozambique President

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Prague, July 25 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman will be the only official visitor invited by Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa this year, thanks to the recommendation from Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi who speaks Czech as he studied in Brno in the 1980s, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes on Monday.

Zeman will also be the first state visit welcomed by de Sousa who has been the head of state since March.

Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek confirmed the planned visit to Portugal. Zeman is likely to meet de Sousa in December, he told the paper.

President de Sousa has a liking for Mozambique because his father was the next-to-last governor of this former Portuguese dependency. After he became president, Mozambique was the destination of one of his first foreign trips. During the friendly talks in Mozambique in May, Nyusi told de Sousa about his study at the Czech military academy from which he graduated in 1990.

The invitation to Portugal suits Zeman who is not invited abroad very often, LN writes.

Zeman does not receive many invitations from other presidents also due to the travel strategy of his predecessor Vaclav Klaus. President Klaus travelled as much as possible but he seemed to forget to invite his hosts to Prague. As diplomatic relations are based on reciprocity, Zeman must meet other presidents at home rather than visit their countries, the paper says.

It writes that de Sousa and Zeman seem to have a lot in common. Like Zeman, de Sousa is admired for his entertaining style and sharp statements by a part of the citizens, while others consider him irresponsible and they would appreciate them being more moderate and less frequent, LN says.

De Sousa makes a speech on television every Sunday.

The two presidents may have similar economic views. Though de Sousa headed a centre-right democratic party, he recently expressed support for the retreat from the policy of savings and cuts promoted by Portugal’s socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa. Zeman, a former socialist prime minister himself, criticised the austerity measures of the former Czech right-wing government.

The paper says Zeman would like to copy de Sousa’s success in the first round of the direct presidential election. De Sousa won 52 percent of the vote even though there were nine other candidates for the post of Portuguese president. Zeman won his post in the second round and he is likely to be defending his position in the presidential election in 2018.

Apart from mediating contacts with de Sousa, President Nyusi may help the Czech economy.

Mozambique was afflicted by a civil war until the 1990s and it was one of the poorest countries in the world. When the war ended, an economic boom started, also thanks to the discovery of rich natural gas deposits.

Nyusi’s military education in Brno led to a serious interest in Czech military technologies and possible contracts for Czech arms makers. When Nyusi was defence minister of his country, he visited the Brno military academy in 2013 and agreed on cooperation in the education of soldiers, LN writes.

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