Lisbon, 3 June 2015 — Mawlana Hazar Imam and Portugal’s Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Rui Machete signed a landmark agreement today, for the establishment of a formal Seat of the Ismaili Imamat in Portugal.

Marking the first such accord in the Imamat’s modern history, the Agreement will come into effect once it has been approved by Portugal’s Parliament and ratified by the President of the Portuguese Republic.

Portugal’s Prime Minister, Pedro Passos Coelho, and other senior government officials witnessed the signing ceremony in Lisbon’s 18th century Palace of Necessidades, which houses the Portuguese Foreign Ministry.

Thanking the government for inviting the Ismaili Imamat to establish its permanent Seat in Portugal, Mawlana Hazar Imam welcomed the Agreement as a historic milestone for the Imamat. He noted that the enabling framework provided by the Agreement will facilitate the work of the Ismaili Imamat not only in Portugal but also globally.

In his address, Mawlana Hazar Imam described the event as “a uniquely important occasion, where we will have for the first time in our history the opportunity to work with a partner with whom we share so many values, and so many hopes, and so many wishes.”

Prime Minister Coelho commented that Portugal was honoured by the Imamat’s decision to establish its Seat in his country.

Foreign Minister Machete praised the Agreement and referred to its significance in today’s world. “We consider this as an important sign by the Portuguese State towards an entity representing such an important community, at a time when intercultural and interfaith dialogue take on a role of capital importance in the major issues of the international agenda,” he said.

The accord will result in intensified cooperation between Portugal and the Ismaili Imamat in the knowledge society, through developing world-class research initiatives in Portugal that will benefit the world at large.

This new Agreement, which takes the Imamat’s relationship with Portugal to a new level, builds on a series of earlier accords. They include an agreement on religious and cultural matters and a protocol on international cooperation with the Aga Khan Development Network, which serves communities across the world irrespective of their ethnicity or faith.