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Portugal has reiterated its pledge to provide assistance for the Argyle International Airport Project, says Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
Gonsalves said José Sócrates, Portugal’s Prime Minister, two weeks ago at the United Nations General Assembly, expressed his interest in having Aeroportos de Portugal (ANA), the Airport Authority of Portugal, which manages various airports including Portugal’s largest airport, Lisbon-Portela, give the local project a push.
Gonsalves said Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at the same meeting committed to provide additional assistance beyond the US$2 million that Iran gave to the project.
“I continue to expand and consolidate the coalition of the willing on the Argyle International Airport Project,” said Gonsalves.
The Prime Minister mentioned that the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa, is also keen to support the airport project and has committed his Minister of International Cooperation to follow up with the Government of St.Vincent and the Grenadines and the International Airport Development Company (IADC). He said they are interested in exploring ways that the Qatar Government could invest the project. Gonsalves said an invitation was extended to him to visit Qatar, but he does not know whether he’ll be able to go before March 2011.
Additionally, Gonsalves said the Foreign Ministers of Serbia and Morocco made commitments to explore ways in which their governments could support the airport project.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister disclosed that he also held extensive discussions with bin Khalifa on ways in which Qatar’s Investment Authority, “the government’s massive sovereign wealth fund,” could invest in Tourism in St.Vincent and the Grenadines.
“He specifically wants me to come to Qatar to discuss this matter about tourism investment and also to discuss assistance with the airport,” said Gonsalves.(HN - SEARCHLIGHT)