Cape Verde pursues a neutral, nonaligned foreign policy and expends considerable effort in seeking out sources of development aid. Substantial gains have been made in this direction through grants from both Israel and Arab states and from new diplomatic embassies and offices in the People's Republic of China, South Africa, Sweden, Spain, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. Cape Verde remains in close contact with lusophone Africa through PALOP (African Peoples of Portuguese Official Language), and with Portugal and Brazil. These seven countries (Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Mozambique, São Tome and Príncipe, Brazil, and Portugal) formed a lusophone organization to promote cooperation on development and cultural issues in July 1996. Pires has made his concern over the political instability in Guinea-Bissau a public matter and in December 2001 sent his political adviser on mission to visit President Yala. Cape Verde also has had observer status since 1977 with the francophone Agency of Cultural and Technical Cooperation (ACCT) and is debating full membership.
Cape Verde's dependence on Portugal and the EU as its key economic partners gives Pires little choice other than to orient his policy priorities in this direction. His swift condemnation of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., followed by his offer to allow the U.S. air force to use the country's airspace, dispelled any doubts about the PAICV's socialist past. Further, the large number of Cape Verdeans in the United States and the reliance of Cape Verde on Western aid means that Pires is likely to pursue close ties with Western Europe and the United States.