Cape Verde’s President Jose Maria Neves says he was surprised when head of government met with Ukrainian leader without consensus
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s short technical stop in Cape Verde last weekend has led to a row in the country’s leadership. Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva seized the stopover opportunity to meet with Ukraine’s leader, prompting accusations of partisanship and opportunism from President Jose Maria Neves.
The prime minister’s initiative will only tarnish the country’s international posture, Neves told journalists on Monday, pointing to the threat of unnecessary disputes within the government. He also insisted that he should have been informed about Correia e Silva’s plans in advance.
“There have to be adult people in the room to prevent institutional deterioration and unnecessary clashes… as well as damage to the country’s image,” the president said at the press meeting. The head of state added that he felt “profoundly strange” about the whole situation.
“I will draw attention to this issue and take the measures that prove relevant,” the president said, without going into further detail. If “a counterpart of the President of the Republic” arrives in Cape Verde, such a development should be dealt with in close coordination between various government institutions, Neves pointed out, adding that the president “cannot be simply presented with a fait accompli on these matters.”
Correia e Silva hit back by saying that relations between the government and the president should not be discussed in the media or on social networks. He did not provide any other comments on the meeting itself or on the president’s reaction.
The Presidential Office in Kiev said that the meeting between Zelensky and Correia e Silva was the first of its kind in the two nations’ history. The Ukrainian president praised Cape Verde’s “principled position” in support of Kiev and its “international initiatives.” He then called on the African nation to back his “peace formula” and invited the prime minister to visit Ukraine.
Neves branded the meeting a manifestation of “excessive partisanship” within Cape Verde’s government and slammed the cabinet over what he called “institutional disloyalty” in matters of foreign policy.
Zelensky met Correia e Silva during a two-hour stop at Cape Verde’s Sal international airport on his way to Latin America to rally support for Kiev’s cause. On Monday, during his visit to Argentina, he spoke about convening a summit between Ukraine and Latin American nations.
Kiev and its Western backers have been pushing the so-called “Zelensky peace formula” as the only possible basis for a negotiated resolution. The plan in particular demands that Russia withdraw its troops from Ukraine’s pre-2014 territories before talks between Moscow and Kiev can even commence.
Russia dismissed the proposal right after it was unveiled last year, describing it as detached from reality.
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