Luanda,- The new President of Angola, Joao Lourenco, has included Italy on a restricted list of key partners with which he intends to cooperate actively during his five-year term in office. Joao Lourenco, who emphasised that Angola will consider everyone to "respect" their national sovereignty, made this choice during his speech at the official investiture ceremony as the new Angolan head of State, which took place on Tuesday, 26. "Angola will give priority to important partners such as the United States of America, the People's Republic of China, the Russian Federation, the Federative Republic of Brazil, India, Japan, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, United Kingdom, South Korea and other partners no less important, as long as they respect our sovereignty", said the third president of Angola's history, territory colonized by Portugal from 1575 and gained national independence in 1975. Joao Lourenco, a 63-year-old retired army general, made two visits to Italy as Defense minister, a position he held from 2012 to 2017. The first was held in November 2014 and the second in June 2016. "We must continue to strive to maintain relations of friendship and cooperation with all peoples of the world, based on the principles of non-interference in internal affairs and reciprocity of advantages, operating with all countries to safeguard peace, justice and the humanity progress", he said. Therefore, he assured that the priority in the international relations of Angola will be given to the neighbouring countries, namely in the Defense, security and development of the region of southern Africa. This is so that the country must "maintain its role as an important player in maintaining peace in its sub-region, acting firmly in the organizations of which it is a part", he said, adding that the relationship with the other Portuguese-speaking African countries "will always be present in the options" of the Angolan Government.
About the inclusion of Italy as one of Angola's priority partners, the Italian ambassador to Angola, Claudio Miscia, told to AGI that "it is a confirmation of a historic friendship, that was also included in the MPLA Government program. It gives us great satisfaction to see that the President of the Republic, Joao Lourenco, confirms in his speech the existence of these historical bonds of friendship". Italy was the first Western European country to recognize the independence of Angola on February 18, 1976 and on June 4 of that year diplomatic relations were established between the two States. The new head of state made no reference to Portugal, the main source of Angolan imports and the only European country to be represented by the head of state, in this case the President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. Relations between the two countries are currently strained because judicial investigations on corruption and other crimes by the Portuguese authorities are under way with figures of the Angolan government and its orbit. Twenty-two heads of state or their representatives were present at the ceremony. Italy was represented by the ambassador Claudio Miscia for the unavailability of the calendar of the Italian head of government, Paolo Gentiloni, invited to the happening.