Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 121

With trade and friendly relations in mind, Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos met yesterday in the Kremlin with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on the third of a three-day official visit. Delegations from the two sides also held talks, and several intergovernmental agreements were signed. The accords focused on boosting trade between the two countries, including that involved with diamond production. The two sides also issued a declaration outlining the principles of friendly relations between themselves.

Russian representation at yesterday’s talks was moderately high-level. It included presidential spokesman and foreign policy adviser Sergei Yastrzhembsky, Defense Minister Igor Sergeev, Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov and Deputy Foreign Minister Viktor Posuvalyuk. According to some reports, the proceeds from cooperation between Angola and Russia in the diamond trade will go toward repaying Angola’s Soviet-era debt to Russia. It is estimated at some US$6 billion. (Russian agencies, June 23)

The Dos Santos government enjoyed close relations with Moscow during the late Soviet period, but the Angolan president last visited Moscow some ten years ago. The talks between the two sides appear to be part of Russia’s recent effort to raise its diplomatic profile in Africa. That policy, which parallels a renewed interest in Africa by the United States, was alluded to by Yastrzhembsky earlier this month during a visit to South Africa and Namibia. Yastrzhembsky indicated that Russia would henceforth look to pursue a more activist diplomacy in Africa. (See the Monitor, June 16)