The people of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau reacted calmly to the news on Tuesday (10 September) that Portugal had formally and finally granted independence to its former West African colony after 500 years of occupation and 13 years of guerrilla warfare.
GV PAN Government House
SV PAN Crowds gathering outside Government House
GV ZOOM IN AND SV Cabral (in hat) welcomed and hugged by compatriots (2 shots)
GV ZOOM OUT Street scene in Bissau (2 shots)
SV People reading papers(4 shots)
SV People in groups talking and reading papers
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The people of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau reacted calmly to the news on Tuesday (10 September) that Portugal had formally and finally granted independence to its former West African colony after 500 years of occupation and 13 years of guerrilla warfare.
President Antonio de Spinela signed the final document in Lisbon recognizing the independence to he first of Portugal's African colonies in a brief and informal ceremony at the Belem Presidential Palace.
Preliminary agreement on the transfer of power, signed in Algiers on 26 August, had established an immediate ceasefire, and exchange of ambassadors and the withdrawal of all Portuguese troops from Guinea-Bissau by the end of October.
So it was no wonder that the news that ties with Portugal had been finally and formally severed did not provoke much overt excitement or enthusiasm in the capital, Bissau.
The PAIGC - The African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and the Cape Verde Islands - unilaterally declared its own independence in a jungle ceremony in the territories hinterland last September.
The PAIGC held no celebrations of its own in Guinea-Bissau on tuesday - planning only a ceremony to mark the first anniversary of independence on 24 September.
The PAIGC has declared its foreign policy to be non-aligned, and its domestic policy strongly emphasizes development of the countryside rather than the towns.
All that remains for Portugal to do now is to recommend the new state's membership of the United Nations when the General Assembly convenes this month.
The PAIGC has also to settle the matter of the strategically-important Cape Verde Islands some 400 miles from the mainland in the Atlantic Ocean. They have always maintained the Islands to be an integral part of Guinea-Bissau. And the expect the islanders to opt for union with the mainland when elections are eventually held there.