Premier Michael Dunkley officially signed a memorandum of understanding with Vasco Cordeiro, president of the Autonomous Region of Azores this morning.

The MOU signifies the historical, cultural, educational, environmental and commercial ties that unite the territories of Bermuda and the Azores.

Hailing the event as as an “historic occasion” for both Bermuda and the Azores, Premier Dunkley said, “We view the Azores as an important partner of Bermuda, and with today’s signing of the Memorandum of Understanding we have strengthened our centuries old relationship.

“Our two countries have significant bonds which connect us… cultural, historical, familial, environmental and commercial… so it is only fitting that we solidify our partnership with today’s event.”

The Premier added, “We have an incredibly vibrant Portuguese community in Bermuda, and they express their heritage with pride and passion. The contribution of the Portuguese community to our Island over the centuries has been immeasurable. You have left a lasting legacy on Bermuda’s cultural enrichment and our economic and social development and we are grateful for your contribution to helping to shape our history.”

In addition to the shared traditional bonds, the Premier also highlighted the importance of the two countries’ support of one another in the shared challenges.

“We also have common challenges due to our insular geography. Your willingness to become signatory of the Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea should be roundly commended as it speaks to your commitment to our partnership. During our visit we look forward to discussing and exploring additional opportunities that will mutually benefit and strengthen the relationship between our two countries,” the Premier went on to say.

“Today we have fortified our bond of friendship and laid the foundation for greater things to come. I want to take this opportunity on behalf of my colleagues to thank you for your gracious welcome and hospitality, and know that we are very eager see more of your beautiful country during our stay.”

Over the course of today and tomorrow, the Premier will engage in a number of meetings, visits and activities, including attending an official dinner in his honour that is being hosted by President Cordeiro later this evening.

Other events and activities that the Premier will engage in include:

A visit to the Pico Vermelho Geothermal Power Station;

A visit to NONAGON – São Miguel Science and Technology Park to meet with the Board of Directors of Sociedade de Desenvolvimento Empresarial dos Açores – Azores Business Development Society;

A visit to the Image of Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres – Lord Holy Christ of Miracles – and its Treasure;

A courtesy call to the President of the Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region of Azores; and

A visit to the Oceanography and Fisheries Department of the University of the Azores.

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