11 December 2007

Angola: France, Country to Rebuild Ties After Decade

Luanda — France and Angola are to rebuild their diplomatic ties after ten years, according to French Ambassador to Angola Francis Blondet.

Mr Blondet has confirmed that French President Nicolas Sarkozy will visit Angola by February next year, in the light of the efforts aimed at overcoming diplomatic disagreements.

"We wish to start something new," he told reporters on Monday after calling on Angolan Prime Minister Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos.

"After ten years of a cold climate, we are starting with the establishment of a warmer climate. We consider Angola as a partner and a powerhouse in the region," he told reporters on Monday after calling on.

He said France wished to have Angola as a partner "not only concerning trade, but as a country of the future, which has an important role to play in the world".

"President Sarkozy's visit shall be an opportunity to offer terms of cooperation and contribution to the country's reconstruction process," he stressed.

Mr Blondet said that during the visit the French president would discuss with Angolan Head of State José Eduardo dos Santos issues relating to Angola's role within the African region.

Paris considers Angola's performance in the region as positive, indicating that it not only contributing to the stability of neighbouring countries, but also for the solving of the situation in Darfur and in West Africa.

As for the bilateral partnership, the ambassador said the sectors that could be the focus of cooperation not only included the oil sector, but also technology and other sectors that are useful for Angola and in which France has experience.

Mr Blondet was accredited as the new French ambassador to Angola last 14 November.

Bordering the South Atlantic Ocean and nestled between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Namibia, Angola is one of the continents leaders in economic growth driven by its oil sector.

A post-war reconstruction boom, following 27 years of civil war, and the resettlement of displaced persons has led to high rates of growth in construction and agriculture as well.

According to a report issued in June from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa on regional economic developments in 2006, the Angolan economy is among the top 10 best performers in Africa.

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