Libmonster ID: UK-1326
Author(s) of the publication: O. I. TETERIN

On April 7-9, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Angola, Jorge Rebelo Shikoti, paid a working visit to Moscow.

With the assistance of the Department of Africa of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the Embassy of Angola in Moscow, the interview of J. R. Shikoti published below was organized for our magazine.

Question: Mr. Minister, how do you assess the results of the visit?

Answer: Before answering your question, I will say that I visited Moscow for the first time almost 20 years ago. Over the past years, Russia has undergone major changes. You now have a prosperous country, a different, open society, life has become better, people have more optimism, everyone has hope for success today and a successful future.

At the meeting with the Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of Russia Sergey Donskoy, who is co-chairman of the Russian-Angolan Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation and Trade, we reviewed the state of relations between our countries - what has been done and what is to be done in the coming years. In particular, in the economic sphere, in the activities of Alrosa, in the development of the country's infrastructure, in the field of fishing, in the field of education. I consider it important for cooperation to open a credit line for the Angolan government by the Russian VTB Bank. I paid special attention to trade relations, as the trade turnover between our countries remains at a very low level.

Touching upon my meeting with my counterpart Sergey Lavrov, I would like to note Russia's openness and willingness to cooperate not only with Angola, but also with other African countries. We discussed the current state and prospects for the development of our bilateral relations in various fields.

For my part, I emphasized Russia's increased prestige and political authority in the international community. Russia has a strong and clear position on a number of major global and regional issues. To take,

for example, the crisis in Syria, the situation in Libya, in a number of other regions of Africa. I can say the same about Russia and its attitude to the situation in Ukraine. Until quite recently, no one expected that events there would develop as they did-the entire Ukrainian society was stirred up, masses of people took to the streets and squares, the government was removed and another one took its place...

Apparently, necessary

page 43

new approaches in relations between superpowers, dialogue - both between them and with developing countries. We must strive for a better world.

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight Russia's role in global politics and its involvement in solving international problems.

Question: What do you think is the current political situation on the African continent?

A: From the 1980s to the present day, Africa has made great progress. The continent-wide economy is growing at about 6 percent.

There are regions that we are concerned about. First of all, these are the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea - Bissau, the Sudan, and Somalia. These are terrorist attacks by Islamists in Mali and Somalia. And the revolution in Egypt, where, as we remember, in 2012 radical Islamists came to power, though not for long. Our continent is facing, one might say, an " Arab challenge."

We operate not only at the level of summits of heads of State and Government of the African Union. We put some issues on the agenda of meetings of the Security Council and other UN bodies.

We have regional and sub-regional mechanisms to address various problems on the continent. Such as the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, which is currently chaired by Angola.

As for the African Union, its position is very clear-non-recognition of regimes that came to power by force of arms. Responding to crisis situations, for example, in the Central African Republic, the African Union interacts with the French government, African peacekeepers and the French contingent jointly participate in conflict resolution, ensuring the safety of the local population. Our peacekeepers are also deployed in Somalia and a number of other countries.

Question: What is your assessment of relationships with your nearest neighbors? First of all, with the DRC, given the unsettled maritime border, the influx of migrants from this country.

Answer: The relationship is good. An agreement was signed with Kinshasa on the construction of an offshore platform for joint oil production. We are ready to cooperate in other areas as well. Relations with the Republic of the Congo and our southern neighbors - Zambia, Botswana and Namibia - are also good.

You are right, illegal immigration is a big problem for us. The migrants are different, but mostly from West Africa: Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, and even Algeria. Every day at least 100 - 200 people arrive by sea and by land, maybe even more - how to count them? They cause significant damage to our economy, for example, in the mining sector, in trade. It is worth adding that even during the years of the civil war, many migrants came to us.

Another problem is the expulsion of illegal migrants from the country. The task is not easy, because there are gaps in our legislation, there are no legal grounds for sending them home. We have already expelled about 30 thousand people, but it is not known how many more are in the country. We are still far from winning the fight against illegal immigration. In this regard, we cooperate at the governmental level with countries where migrant flows originate. But it should be borne in mind that in West Africa, as in Central Africa, the movement of people, regardless of borders, is free, not controlled by the authorities.

Question: How does Luanda assess integration processes within the Southern African Development Community (SADC)* And the Economic Community of Central African States


* Established in 1992. The Community consists of 11 countries-Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe. ed.).

page 44

(ECCA)* of which Angola is a member?

A: The African Union pays great attention to integration issues on the continent. These sub-regional organizations have made some progress in this regard. The creation of a free trade zone is on the agenda. But there is still much work to be done.

Question: As part of the Angolan delegation, you participated in the fourth European Union - Africa Summit, held in Brussels in early April. What are your impressions and assessments of the results of this international forum?

Answer: Perhaps for the first time, Western Europe began to perceive Africa as a partner, rather than an opponent and competitor. Generally speaking, there is an understanding that we want to work together.

A roadmap for deepening cooperation in five areas of mutual interest was adopted. These include: peace and security; democracy, good governance and human rights; human development; continental integration; and global and emerging issues. The program is designed for 2014-2017.

So far, all this is on paper, but I am sure we will achieve results. Priorities and means for their implementation are defined. A fundamental shift is planned from aid to trade and investment, including in infrastructure, by joining forces with funds from the private sector.

Question: On April 4, this year in New York, Angola officially submitted its candidacy for a non - permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2015-2016. What are the goals and objectives of the Government's activities in this UN structure?

Answer: We will represent Africa, as other African States have repeatedly done. Angola will become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the second time. We are committed to preserving peace and further developing Africa. As I have already mentioned, there are problems on the continent that are waiting to be solved. These are Somalia, Libya, Mali, and the Central African Republic. These issues are already under consideration by the Security Council. In cooperation with the international community, the Angolan Government will look for ways and means to solve these problems.

Question: Mr. Minister, please describe the current state of Russian-Angolan relations. What do you need to work on now? There is an intergovernmental commission. Is it necessary to supplement its activities with other structures - at the business level, for example?

Answer: With Minister Lavrov, we signed a "Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Angola on political consultations" on a regular basis on the international agenda.

We have long-standing good relations with Russia. And it is clear to me personally that our countries, despite some stagnation at the end of the last century, have a huge potential for cooperation. In different directions and in different areas - in the field of industry, mining and processing of natural resources, infrastructure development, space communications, education, and healthcare. At the same time, it is necessary to involve the Russian and Angolan business communities more widely and actively in projects.

Russia is developing rapidly, and Angola is also following this path. Russia has huge and diverse resources, including financial ones. I would like to place special emphasis on this, as it seems that there are great opportunities for lending.

It is extremely important to hold more frequent business meetings both in your country and in Angola. This should become the main trend in our trade and economic relations.

The interview was conducted by O. I. TETERIN, Candidate of Historical Sciences


* Formed in 1983 as a part of: Burundi, Cameroon, Congo (Brazzaville), Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon. In 1995, Angola, DRC, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe were adopted.


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