PANAJI/VASCO: The Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa arrived in Goa on a two-day state visit Tuesday evening, accompanied by a Portuguese delegation comprising 21 members. This is Costa’s maiden visit to the state.
The Prime Minister of Portugal was received by the Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza at the Dabolim Airport in the presence of Consulate General of Portugal in Goa Rui Carvalho Baceira, director general of police T N Mohanan and government officials.
A scheduled cultural event at the airport on the arrival of Portugal Prime Minister was cancelled in view of three-day national mourning in Portugal over the death of father of the country’s democracy Mario Soares.
The Deputy Chief Minister, while speaking to media, said, “The Portugal embassy has requested the Goa government to withdraw the cultural programme, wherein the same was intimated to the Ministry of External Affairs and the event was cancelled.”
D’Souza said that he is happy to receive the Portugal Prime Minister in Goa.
“The Portugal Prime Minister had received me during my visit to Portugal, while I received him in Goa. I call it reciprocal honour and biggest thing in my life,” he said.
He said that there are many similarities between Portugal and Goa.
A large number of police personnel were deputed along the road from INS Hansa Gate, Dabolim when the Portugal Prime Minister left in a convoy to a five star hotel in North Goa.
Costa, who traces his roots to Goa, will attend a civic reception in his honour organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in presence of the Deputy Chief Minister, Francis D’Souza and vice-chancellor of Goa University, Varun Sahani, at the Adil Shah Palace, in the city on January 11.
He would also be presented with the English translation of the book ‘Sem Flores Nem Coroas’ originally authored by his father, Orlando Costa.
Among other official functions, Costa will attend programmes at the new Centre of Portuguese Language, in the city as well as at the V M Salgaocar College of Law. He will further visit the Institute Menezes Braganza to view the Azulejos panels depicting “Os Lusiadas” scenes at the entrance of the building.
The Portuguese Prime Minister will also be visiting his ancestral house in Margao on January 12, besides religious complexes at Old Goa and Mangueshi.
Meanwhile, the government, in view of the visit of the Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Costa, has requested the tourists to co-operate and defer their plans of visiting Institute Menezes Braganza from 2 pm onwards and the Adil Shah Palace from 3 pm onwards on January 11.
Similarly, the general public as well as tourists have been informed that the Old Goa church complex will be closed for the public between 2 pm and 4 pm, and Mangueshi temple complex will be closed for the public between 3 pm and 5 pm on January 12.
Meanwhile, when asked whether the Portugal Prime Minister should apologise to the Goans as demanded by the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) leader and former PWD Minister Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar, the Deputy Chief Minister said that the Portugal Prime Minister Costa has fought against the dictator, and brought democracy to Portugal.
“Where is the question of apology by the Portugal Prime Minister,” he asked.