ANGOLA President Joao Manuel Lourenco says as hard as the struggle for independence was for African countries, Russia helped.
President Lourenco said this in Sochi at the inaugural Russia-Africa summit.
He told Russia’s President Vladimir Putin that Africa was free today largely through the efforts of the Russian people and the efforts of the former Soviet Union.
“Africa is free through those efforts,” President Lourenco said.
“Russia is a country that helped the African countries that fought for their national independence. That struggle was hard enough; it took us a long time, but eventually with your help we have all become independent, except Eastern Sahara, which is not in the best shape.”
He added: “we came to Russia on a State visit in April, and today we are here not in a bilateral format but mostly to take part in the first Russia-Africa Summit, which is quite important for us.”
President Lourenco told his counterpart that at present, “we are at a new stage.”
“At this stage we want to count not only on your assistance, but also on cooperation between our countries. Such cooperation is already happening but has yet to reach the level that is possible,” said President Lourenco, adding that there was great potential on both sides that could be reached.
“This is what we have wanted to do since April, the time of my first visit. We know, Mr President, that your delegation has been trying for several days to hold this event. We are glad that you have found the time to meet with us.”
President Putin was glad to welcome President Lourenco and his delegation in Sochi.
He said he had warm memories of their productive talks in Moscow on April 4 this year.
“We appreciate your participation in the first Russia-Africa Summit, which, no doubt, will be an important step in the development of the entire range of Russian-African ties. Mr President, next year we will mark a significant anniversary: 45 years since the declaration of Angola’s independence and the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries,” President Vladimir said.
“Over this period, Angola has become Russia’s important partner in Africa. Our interstate ties are traditionally friendly in nature. We are promoting our practices in the trade, economic, investment and cultural areas and maintain an active political dialogue.”
He indicated that the two countries should now focus on implementing the agreements that they reached in April.
“At our April talks in Moscow, we reaffirmed our mutual political will to develop bilateral cooperation with a view to making it a genuine strategic partnership. It was included in the joint communiqué signed at the end of your visit,” recalled President Putin.
“Russian agencies, organisations and government corporations are already working on this. We expect that our Angolan friends have also started to put them into effect. We are very glad to see you, Mr President, and I hope that our meeting today will also help strengthen our bilateral ties.”