In what is probably the first in Singapore’s diplomatic history for this ceremony President Halimah Yacob received the credentials from the heads of mission of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Portuguese Republic via video conference on 19th May 2020

THE Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced the following foreign Heads of Mission have presented their credentials to President Halimah Yacob in separate ceremonies via videoconference, conducted at the Istana and premises of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the residence of the Ambassador of the Portuguese Republic respectively.

They are the Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Her Excellency Jessica María López Piña and the Ambassador of the Portuguese Republic His Excellency Mário Rui dos Santos Miranda Duarte.

In a brief posting on her Facebook page, President Halimah said: “COVID-19 has necessitated us to make adjustments to the way we do things. But with technology, it is still possible to carry on with what we need to do, such as the presentation of credentials to me by foreign Ambassadors so that they can officially represent their respective countries.” She was pleased to receive the credentials from the two ambassadors and also had good discussions on their priorities during their stay in Singapore and wished them a fruitful tenure here.

Following are the bio summaries of the Ambassadors:

AMBASSADOR JESSICA MARÍA LÓPEZ PIÑA served in the Office of the President from 1999 to 2003, and has experience in the development of strategic projects in the public sector, specifically in aeronautical and railway management. She was appointed as First Secretary at the Venezuelan Embassy in Brasilia from 2011 to 2014, where she served as Head of the Consular Section. Ambassador López Piña was later appointed as Counsellor and Head of the Consular Section in the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington D.C. from 2014 to 2018. Thereafter, she served as Consul General in Miami from February 2018 to January 2019. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Fermín Toro University in Barquisimeto, Venezuela in 2000. Ambassador López Piña is married.  

AMBASSADOR MÁRIO RUI DOS SANTOS MIRANDA DUARTE served in Lisbon at the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Director of the IT Department before his accreditation to Singapore,. Ambassador Duarte served at previous overseas postings as Deputy Permanent Representative at the Portuguese Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, as Consul in Providence, Rhode Island, USA, and at the Delegation of Portugal to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in Brussels, Belgium. Ambassador Duarte also held the position of Chief of Staff of the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and served twice as an adviser at the office of the Portuguese Prime Minister. At the Portuguese MFA, he has served as Director of the Department for Multilateral Affairs as well as for Institutional Relations with the European Union. He was also a member of the National Elections Commission in Portugal. Ambassador Duarte has a Degree in History from Universidade Lusíada in Portugal. He is married to Mrs Ana Cristina Tavares de Faria Miranda Duarte and has two children.