Portugal and Angola agree on "annoying" factor

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa accompanied by the foreign ministers of Portugal and Angola after a stroll along Luanda Bay

The so-called "Manuel Vicente case" surfaced once again during a stroll along Luanda Bay. António Costa and the Angolan Foreign Minister believe that the case was "annoying" in the "same proportion."

It's a national holiday in Angola and few people can be seen in the city center. António Costa's stroll along Luanda Bay, accompanied by Angolan Foreign Minister Manuel Augusto, was quiet and peaceful - just like the renewed relationship the Portuguese premier wants to build with Angola.

But when Costa was about to finish his stroll by the sea, the subject everyone talked about before the official visit suddenly came up again - the case involving former Angolan Vice President Manuel Vicente under Operation Fizz. "This case, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs [Augusto Santos Silva] and I used to say, was an annoying factor," the Prime Minister said.

Over the last year and a half, the "annoying factor" caused a great stir in Portugal and Angola, and it only cooled down when the Portuguese Public Prosecutor decided to send the process in which Manuel Vicente is accused of corruption and money laundering to the Angolan courts. In Luanda, standing next to a member of the Angolan Government, António Costa said that the issue is past history.

"I have had three meetings with President João Lourenço throughout the year, three other meetings with Minister Manuel Augusto, and we made it clear that our political relations are excellent, our economic relations are very good, and there was a small annoying factor which was complicating the relationship between the two countries, but now that it has been overcome, everything is well," he said.

The head of the Portuguese Government wants to relaunch the country's relations with Angola with this two-day official visit. And if there has been some mutual criticism in recent months, now even the Angolan Foreign Minister Manuel Augusto tries to help Costa explain what many observers say is yet to be explained. "It was truly an annoying factor for both countries," Costa admitted, with Manuel Augusto adding: "And in the same proportion."

Another problem to be solved is the Angolan state's debt to Portuguese companies. Also on this subject, the Prime Minister says there is no "annoying factor."

"There is a path to be walked, and the issues affecting companies - many of which are private issues - will find a good solution," Costa said, pointing out that Angola is "interested and motivated" to solve the problem.

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