In a move demonstrating the growing diplomatic power of Russia, an agreement has been signed between Luanda and Moscow concerning military cooperation. The agreement was signed as a result of the visit of Vice-Prime Minister Ilya Klebakov to Luanda and the agreement not only covered the sale of equipment to Angola but also pardoned part of Angola’s debt to Russia. In a clear sign that Luanda is turning again to its strongest ally after independence (which took place in 1975 after 15 years of war against the colonial power, Portugal), the agreement includes the re-equipping of the Angolan Army, Navy and Air Force and also the training of officers. The last ten years had seen a cooling off in relations between these two countries in the aftermath of the break-up of the Soviet Union. Russia is involved in other major undertakings in Angola, the largest of which is the Capanda hydroelectric plant. Angola is a potential economic giant, with huge reserves of oil, most of which is off-shore around the enclave of Cabinda in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Zaire), but it is also rich in diamonds, iron, manganese, and copper. There is a huge potential for hydroelectric projects, since the river Quanza alone could produce 30 billion KW per year if its full capacity was used.
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey Pravda.Ru Lisbon
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