Portugal, South Africa and Mozambique began two days of talks in Lisbon on February 14, to discuss future operations of the Cabora Bassa Hydroelectric plant.
GV INTERIOR Portuguese Foreign Ministry, Portuguese, South African and Mozambican delegates seated.
SV PAN Portuguese Secretary of State for Co-operation Gaspar da Silva speaking. (SOT)
SCU PULL BACK TO GV Gaspar da Silva speaking as delegates listen. (4 SHOTS)
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Background: Portugal, South Africa and Mozambique began two days of talks in Lisbon on February 14, to discuss future operations of the Cabora Bassa Hydroelectric plant. The power station, on the Zambezi River in Mozambique, has been the target of sabotage attacks by right-wing Mozambican guerrillas. Portugal, which built the Cabora Bassa Dam, is eager to find a solution to the sabotage problems. The hydroelectric project was aimed at exporting electricity to South Africa, but the loss of supplies through guerrilla attacks is depriving Portugal of an estimated 40-million dollars a year in revenue. The Portuguese Secretary of State for Co-operation, Gaspar da Silva, welcomed the delegations from Maputo and Pretoria and hailed previous talks as encouraging. The closed-door Lisbon conference was opened by Portuguese Secretary of State for the Treasury Antonio de Almeida. South Africa's delegation was led by Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Louis Nel and Mozambique's by Industry and Energy Minister Antonio Branco. According to experts, solving the security problem in Mozambique could enable electricity supplies to be sent to Malawi and Zimbabwe. But the Mozambican National Resistance Movement (RENAMO), which has been fighting for control in Mozambique since independence from Portugal in 1975, has said tripartite talks are a waste of time - only a direct agreement between RENAMO and Portugal will allow normal electricity supplies to resume.