Russia — Angola: yesterday, today, tomorrow

In early March 2018, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Angola. In the capital of the republic — Luanda, the Minister recalled that the USSR recognized this country immediately after it gained its independence and confirmed the interest of Russian business in cooperation. How can the republic be of interest to Moscow today and tomorrow?

The interest is undeniably present. The President of Russia Vladimir Putin sent an invitation to Angolan President João Lourenço to visit Russia immediately after the election of his Angolan colleague for this post. The Angolan side confirmed its readiness to visit Moscow. This was stated, in particular, by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov following talks with his Angolan counterpart Manuel Domingos Augusto. Terms of visit are being specified. And soon the head of the Angolan Foreign Ministry is going visit Moscow.

According to the Russian minister, the parties "noted the existence of an intensive political dialogue, specifically at the highest level," both in Luanda and Davos, where Angolan President J. Lourenço met Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

"We have converging and very close approaches to international affairs in the UN and other venues," Lavrov stressed. "We are developing our relations with African countries not only in bilateral formats, but also with the associations that exist on the continent: both with the African Union and with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) ... A good example, when Africans themselves provide useful initiatives, is the constructive role played by Angola in the settlement of conflicts in the DRC and Lesotho. Most recently, Angola has completed its four-year presidency of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region. Admittedly, these were very successful four years, during which the situation wasn't destabilized, and which created the preconditions for a gradual but sustainable solution of all these problems".

Official reports about the meetings of the Russian minister are rather brief, but promising. "The talks confirmed the mutual desire to bring economic cooperation to a qualitatively new level," Sergei Lavrov stated. In his opinion, this will be facilitated by the first meeting of the intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Angola, which will be held this year in Moscow. "It is comforting that a meeting of Russian and Angolan businessmen took place last autumn in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation," the minister said.

According to Sergey Lavrov, "the cooperation is developing in the sphere of mineral resources, also there are good prospects in the oil and gas sector, we have good plans to develop cooperation in high-tech areas, including space and the peaceful use of nuclear energy."

For business today and tomorrow there are political arguments from the recent past of cooperation between the two countries. As Sergey Lavrov noted that the conversation with President J. Lourenço and Foreign Minister Augusto imply that "we remember our combat brotherhood, which allowed achieving the liberation of Angola and gaining its independence."

At a ceremony at the memorial stone set at the Russian embassy in Luanda, in the presence of the Defense Minister, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Angola and war veterans, Sergey Lavrov recalled that more than 100,000 of our citizens participated in the struggle for the independence of Angola. "80 citizens laid down their heads, hundreds were wounded ... Our help was not limited to the struggle for independence. It continued when Angola was engaged in the formation of its state ... This memorial stone is set in memory of those who fought for the independent Angola. I am convinced that this symbol ... will serve as a reminder to the younger generation for many years that these values are above all. When I see boys and girls who study at our school and came here for this ceremony, I am convinced that our cause is right and we will win".