The President of the Republic of Angola, João Lourenço, begins Thursday his first state visit to Portugal, ten years after the last official visit of an Angolan head of state with José Eduardo dos Santos in 2009.
The three-day visit, at the invitation of the Portuguese President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, comes after João Lourenço made official trips in his first year in office, France and Belgium, as well as South Africa and China, among others.
In addition to the head of state and First Lady, Ana Dias Lourenço, the Angolan delegation includes several ministers, with the prospect of signing bilateral agreements.
In Lisbon, the official program of the visit provides for the meeting of João Lourenço with the Portuguese counterpart, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and the speech in the Assembly of the Republic, in a solemn session of the plenary, still on November 22.
Also in the capital, the Angolan president receives the keys of the city, in a ceremony prepared by the autarchy and has planned a passage through the Jerónimos Monastery, in addition to contacts with the Angolan community.
In the city of Porto, João Lourenço will participate in the Portugal-Angola economic seminar, which will bring together businessmen from both countries.
In February 2009, José Eduardo dos Santos was received in Portugal by the then Head of State, Cavaco Silva, who a year later, in July 2010, returned the trip and travelled to Luanda.
The two heads of state then agreed on the basis of a strategic partnership that never left the role, largely due to the discomfort of Angola with the investigations of Justice in Portugal, elements of the Angolan elite, close to José Eduardo dos Santos.
In 2017, the uproar increased in tone, as the indictment in Portugal against Manuel Vicente, on the late Vice-President of the Republic of Angola, was advanced on suspicion of corruption over a Portuguese magistrate, when he was president of the oil company Sonangol.
In September 2017, José Eduardo dos Santos left the post of president of the Republic, which he held for 38 years, and soon in the inauguration speech, which was attended by the Portuguese President, João Lourenço, without saying it directly, the countries with which Angola intended to strengthen cooperation and relationship. Portugal, the main source of Angolan imports, was not mentioned in the first speech of the new head of state.
The breakdown of relations between the two countries, and the episode that became known as the “irritant”, only arrived in May of this year, with the Lisbon Court of Appeal sending Manuel Vicente, who is now a deputy, to the Angolan judicial authorities, as was claimed by the head of state himself.
In January of this year, João Lourenço was clearer and stated that relations between Portugal and Angola would “depend a lot” on the resolution of Manuel Vicente’s case, classifying the Portuguese court’s attitude – which initially refused to transfer the case to Luanda – as “an offence” for your country.
After overcoming the “irritating”, João Lourenço received the Portuguese prime minister in Luanda in September, encouraging António Costa to maintain “a permanent line of dialogue” with Angola.
Despite the interest in attracting Portuguese companies, João Lourenço recalled that to take into account the objectives of strengthening cooperation, it is necessary that “common sense, pragmatism and a sense of state always prevail”, to “overcome” the “pessimistic visions” which sometimes arise.
“I encourage, therefore, to maintain a permanent line of dialogue between us,” the Angolan head of State recommended.