An­golan Pres­i­dent on rare visit to S Africa

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

PRE­TO­RIA: An­golan Pres­i­dent Jose Ed­uardo dos Santos on Tues­day started a his­toric first state visit to South Africa, a trip aimed at end­ing decades-long en­mity be­tween two of the re­gion's ma­jor economies. His visit fol­lows Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma's trip to the oil-rich state in 2009, which con­firmed a de­tente with Africa's top pro­ducer of crude af­ter decades of strained re­la­tions un­der apartheid and the early years of black-ma­jor­ity rule.

The two lead­ers met in the cap­i­tal Pre­to­ria at 9:15 am (0715 GMT) and they were to hold talks and sign an as yet undis­closed agree­ment at the Pres­i­den­tial Guest House be­fore hav­ing lunch to­gether with their wives. Re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries were marred dur­ing the apartheid era as South Africa sided with UNITA rebels who were fight­ing dos Santos's Pop­u­lar Move­ment for the Lib­er­a­tion of An­gola, (MPLA) dur­ing its civil war.

Af­ter the end of apartheid in 1994, for­mer pres­i­dents Nel­son Man­dela and Thabo Mbeki favoured a ne­go­ti­ated set­tle­ment to the civil war, a stand op­posed by dos Santos un­til the con­flict ended in 2002. Un­der Mbeki, the two na­tions also feuded over how to han­dle the cri­sis in Zim­babwe and the con­flict in DR Congo. A South African govern­ment state­ment is­sued ahead of dos Santos's two-day visit said the trip was meant to "strengthen bi­lat­eral and eco­nomic ties." Dos Santos, who has been in power since 1979, does not of­ten make state vis­its within the con­ti­nent or else­where. The im­por­tance of the trip to South Africa was un­der­lined on Tues­day when he was ac­com­pa­nied to Pre­to­ria by his min­is­ters for for­eign af­fairs, in­dus­try and mines, en­ergy and wa­ter, and ur­ban plan­ning and hous­ing. -Afp

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