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President acknowledges Portugal’s colonial past

Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on Tuesday acknowledged his country’s not always positive colonial past, during a visit to the former colony of Guinea-Bissau.

Making the first visit to the country by a Portuguese head of state for 31 years, Rebelo de Sousa said Portugal “fully acknowledges” its colonial past “including those aspects which were not positive”.

The West African nation of Guinea-Bissau fought a war of independence and became a sovereign state in 1974.

Portugal is a bridge between cultures and “it has been throughout its history, not always well, often badly,” said the Portuguese leader, who arrived in Bissau Monday for a 24-hour visit after a stay in Cape Verde.

Rebelo de Sousa held talks with his Guinean counterpart Umaro Sissoco Embalo.

He visited a cemetery where hundreds of Portuguese soldiers who died during the independence war are buried.

Rebelo de Sousa also laid a wreath at the tomb of Amilcal Cabral, the Guinea-Bissau independence leader killed in Conakry in 1973.