Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa lands this Tuesday in Luanda for a five-day visit, which ended Saturday, commemorating three years of his inauguration as President of the Republic. After the tension between the two countries, the Portuguese and Angolan authorities have worked hard to get closer and the Head of State now returns the visit of João Lourenço, who visited Lisbon in November. In the agenda the question of the debts of the Angolan State to Portuguese companies will not be forgotten, despite the progress.
Speaking to the Economic Journal, the Secretary of State for Internationalization, Eurico Brilhante Dias, foresees that this will be "a subject in which some progress may be noted."
"It has been a work that we have been accompanying with the Angolan authorities and that from the political point of view in what were the fundamental steps is completed. What is lacking is to continue to move forward in the certification process, and it is hoped that during the visit of the President of the Republic there may be further progress in both the certification process and the payment agreement process, "he said.
According to the official, of the group of Portuguese companies that claimed debts, two thirds of the amount claimed are certified and of those who are certified more than half already have confirmed payment agreement.
However, there are some delays: "Where we identified a greater slowness of certification was in some sectoral ministries, in particular in the Ministry of Health, and there was also the question of prudential governments."
"We have already been able to raise the amounts owed and we will continue to monitor them. In terms of global payments, payment agreements signed already have more than 145 million euros at the outset and we must take another step forward during the visit of the President of the Republic, "he added.
Asked about the statements made by Foreign Minister Manuel Augusto, quoted by Lusa, that "when we talk about debt, we are not only talking about Angola's debt to Portugal. There is also the regularization of the tax debt of Portuguese companies to the Angolan State, "Brilhante Dias said" not having any note that this is an agenda item. "
"It was not previously defined as such, but of course the Angolan authorities in a circumstance or another that seems relevant and that we can cooperate to resolve," he explains.
Regarding the possibility of Sonangol divesting Galp and BCP shares, Brilhante Dias said that "during the preparatory hearing, this discussion was never mentioned." The issue had been discussed before João Lourenço's visit to Lisbon at the end of last year, after the Angolan president said in an interview with Expresso that the Angolan state company is expected to withdraw from a large part of the businesses and interests involved.
"On the Portuguese Government side, if we refer to and return to the moment of President João Lourenço's visit, he was fully cooperative with the Angolan Government in providing all the information that was necessary and useful and in our possession so that the Government could form the opinion in the best way. We are not aware of any progress, "explained the Secretary of State.
However, it has highlighted advances in other areas of cooperation, such as the APRI. "Steps have been taken for the investment protection agreement. This agreement needs the Portuguese side in this new framework of a prior agreement of the European Union and it is in this agreement that we are working, "he said.
"We expect to be able to continue in the contracting process in line with the Angolan Government's priorities under the Portugal-Angola agreement line, which is the credit line for Portuguese exports to Angola and where there is a set of projects that can progress, not only because of the new ceiling of more 500 million, but also the previous one that still has to contract one project or another project, "he concluded.
Agenda is divided between Luanda, Benguela and Huíla
Marcelo's agenda will be very fulfilled during the five days that will be in Angola, dividing between Luanda and the provinces of Benguela and Huíla. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Ministers, Augusto Santos Silva, Deputy and Minister of Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, and Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, Luís Capoulas Santos, as well as by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation , Teresa Ribeiro, and a parliamentary delegation.
On Wednesday, João Lourenço welcomes Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in the Presidential Palace in the morning, with military honors, and a press conference is scheduled. The next day, the Portuguese Head of State not only meets the governor of Huíla province, Luís da Fonseca Nunes, but will close the Economic Forum at the Governor's Palace in Benguela. On Friday, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa divides between Lobito and Luanda, where he offers a reception and concert in honor of João Lourenço and Ana Dias Lourenço, the Angolan first lady. The visit ends on Saturday, the day Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa completes three years of his inauguration, with a visit to the National Museum of Military History of Angola.
In the Economic Journal, Africa Monitor analyst Paulo Guilherme says that "on the political-diplomatic level, it is significant the high level that both sides wanted to give to this visit – by the acts, as well as the intervention of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in the National Assembly of Angola, or by the Portuguese delegation, at ministerial and even parliamentary level ".
"It is also interesting the private nature of the visit, the participation of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on the anniversary of João Lourenço, on the eve of the visit, and that he fulfilled in Angolan soil the third anniversary of his mandate," he added, adding that ties of Portuguese State developed with the Angolan presidential couple "may be important for Portugal".
"One thing is historical ties, something else, much more decisive, are political leaders of two countries that create affinities, as I think is the case," he adds.