Permanent Bilateral Commission opens new cooperation possibilities between the Azores and the USA in the fields of Science and Environment
The Representative of the Azores to the Lajes Air Base Agreement stressed the positive outcome of the 30th meeting of the Permanent Bilateral Commission that took place in Lisbon today. This is the first meeting held after the restructuring carried out last May which led to a new dynamics of the works with the creation of specific subcommittees for different areas.
"The interest of U.S. authorities in the installation of a radar infrastructure in the Azores, supported by the National Science Foundation, to monitor weather conditions in space (SuperDARN Project) and improve navigation, as well as the inclusion of the Region in the International Partnership for Energy Development in Island Nations (EDIN), intended to increase the use of renewable energy on islands," were the most significant results pointed out by Francisco Tavares.
These projects are expected to move ahead in 2012 with the visits of the concerned entities to the Region, “validating, once again, the geostrategic importance of the Azores” which, according to the government official, “increasingly encompasses a scientific dimension and the contribution of the Azores in the pursuit of major international projects with relevance for the United States.”
With regard to the traditional cooperation areas established by the American presence in the Azores, Francisco Tavares also stressed the reconfirmation of U.S. authorities concerning the centrality of Lajes Air Base in the context of military infrastructures used by U.S. forces in the world.
Furthermore, the commitment to present the "environmental remediation" plan for the polluted areas identified in the municipality of Praia da Vitória under the LNEC report until December 31 was also reiterated at this meeting. In this context, the representative of the Azorean Government pointed out: "the U.S. Military Command assured that the cleaning works are due to start in early 2012 and this is the most important for the Government of the Azores.”
Francisco Tavares also announced that, due to continued pressure of the Regional Government on the Labour Commission, “the USA will soon release the amounts due to the workers who have retired after the revision of the salary raise system at the Lajes Air Base and who had not received the compensation resulting from the non-implementation of the 2006 and 2007 salary surveys.