Ver Angola


President in “hands-on diplomacy” in the face of the conflict in Ukraine, considers an analyst

An Angolan specialist in international relations classified this Tuesday as "hands-on diplomacy" the President's repositioning in the face of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, aiming at maintaining relations with world powers "without annoying diplomatic".


For Osvaldo Mboco, Angola, which also has interests in the international system, is an important player on the African continent and its repositioning in the face of the war in Ukraine translates into an imperative to maintain relations with China, Russia and the United States of America (USA).

"That's why, with a few quotes, President João Lourenço is forced to adopt an arm's length diplomacy and that arm's length diplomacy is that President João Lourenço must have the political tact in order to manage to maintain the relations he has with the three great powers without creating any diplomatic irritants," said the expert this Tuesday, speaking to Lusa.

Mboco, who was commenting on the visit of the Russian Foreign Minister, Serguei Lavrov, who arrives in Angola this Tuesday for a two-day visit, said that Angola's position regarding the negotiation of the four provinces of Ukraine "demonstrated another realignment " from the country.

"I wouldn't call it a pinch, but, tendentially, it demonstrated another realignment, bearing in mind Angola's positioning on the African continent and also bearing in mind what Russian interests are installed in Angola and also the traditional strategic alignment existing between these two states", he stressed.

In Osvaldo Mboco's view, the President's recent positions on the conflict in Ukraine signaled, on the one hand, the "approximation" with western institutions, "particularly with the USA".

This stance "sent a signal to the international system of Angola's approximation with these (European) institutions and with the American State and in fact its traditional international partners, namely Russia, understand that there is a distancing now", he pointed out.

"And this departure is not simply limited to the position on the question of the negotiation of the four provinces by Russia at the level of Ukraine, but is manifested to a great extent by the fact that President João Lourenço has demonstrated willingness and intention to equip the Angolan army with weapons American," he noted.

"Therefore, there is a cooperation here that is very old, which has a large volume of business that was done with Russia and can be left to be done if in fact Angola moves towards the acquisition of American armament to the detriment of Russian armament", he pointed out.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Serguei Lavrov, arrives this Tuesday in the Angolan capital to meet his counterpart, Téte António, and the President, João Lourenço.

The working visit of the head of Foreign Affairs, with official meetings scheduled for Wednesday, takes place at a time when Angola, after adopting a neutral position in the face of the war in Ukraine, abstaining from voting on a United Nations resolution condemning the Russian invasion in March, joined in October the majority of countries that condemned Russia's annexation of Ukrainian territories.

Angola has been repositioning itself in recent months in terms of foreign policy, moving closer to the United States of America and the European Union, and distancing itself from Russia.

According to Osvaldo Mboco, the visit of the head of Russian diplomacy to Angola should also serve to Lavrov "remember" some bilateral agreements and "see what Russia's position will be in Angola, given the current repositioning of the Portuguese-speaking country on the international scene.

The importance of Angola on the African continent was also signaled by this specialist, referring that the recent visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister and the telephone conversation between João Lourenço and the US Secretary of State demonstrate the value of the country.

The political analyst also considered that contexts and circumstances normally define the position of States, "since they compete with each other", and Angola has "legitimacy" to redefine its position in the international system.

"And this is what Angola is doing, because it has interests in certain matters, and understands that its diplomacy must be treated and directed in this way. Now it is important that, in the midst of this repositioning of Angola, it does some diplomacy with these three great world potentials", concluded Osvaldo Mboco.

In April 2019, João Lourenço visited Moscow and addressed the 450 deputies of the Duma (the Lower House of the Russian parliament) encouraging greater business cooperation in areas that contribute to the diversification of the Angolan economy.

Angola has had relations with Russia for decades since the times of the former Soviet Union, especially in the military, education and health fields.


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