Angola blocks cooperation with Portugal until case involving former deputy president is ‘resolved’

For resolved, it would be fair to read: dropped. The ongoing political dance between Portugal and Angola stepped up its pace this week with the ultimatum “there can be no cooperation between the two countries” until the case centering on alleged corruption involving former deputy president Manuel Vicente is resolved.

Vicente has refuted any and all wrongdoing repeatedly, but this far, Portuguese authorities have been standing their ground.

How much longer the stand-off can continue is the big question.

Prime minister António Costa has been on the Ivory Coast today meeting with Angola’s new leader, and diplomacy chief Manuel Augusto has explained to journalists that but for this “specific case” relations between the two countries are “excellent”.

He said: “Angola respects the separation of powers but the only thing we want is for Portuguese judicial power to take the interests of Portugal and Angola into account”.

Augusto embellished Angola’s desires, saying: “State reason applies here: while Portuguese judicial power believes that relations between the two countries are less important than compliance with this case in the direction it is taking, we will wait”.

For the time being Vicente, who also used to be in the top job at Angola’s oil company Sonangol, is accused of qualified active corruption, money laundering and document falsification in an investigation dubbed Operation Fizz.

Fizz has been bubbling away for over 18 months now and centres on allegations that Vicente paid for investigations against him in Portugal to be archived (click here).

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