Luanda, Nov 07 - When on the 1st of December 1976 young foreign minister Jose Eduardo dos Santos stamped before the United Nations General Assembly the formal act of admission of Angola to the organisation, the country had thereby commenced too its incursion into the world of diplomacy abiding by a rather active and interventive perspective.
This was undisputedly the close of the first cycle of conquests in the politico-military and diplomatic fronts, peculiar to a country emerging from the ashes of an unsuccessfully buried colonial-fascist Portuguese regime, whose kingdom of 500 years of oppression had vanished in the fermenting evening of 10 November 1975.
Disadvantageous for Angola, however, was the international political juncture at the time ofthe events, a fact that the ex-colonial power wanted to capitalise on for a “hand wash” as it became patent in its reluctance to recognise the sovereignty of the emerging State. Thisrecognition would only occur on the 23 February 1976 (the 82nd), three months after the pioneering example of Brazil.
This chain of adversities on the international level had repercussions too at the level of Africa, where successive attempts for admission of the country to the OAU always crashed into the theses of the defenders of anachronic pseudo-panafricanist ideals.
However, the admission came to take place on the 11th of February 1976 as the war theatre could no longer maintain those arguments since the factors halting the triumphant march of the liberty movement had been finally silenced.
Hence, then president Agostinho Neto resolves to play a diplomatic stroke of indisputable and decisive mastery to appease the yet volatile situation in the northern zone of the country by sealing up, with a memorable trip to Kinshasa, the normalisation of relations with the disturbing Zaire neighbour.
In the spite of some military ease on the north, the country still continued to strive for itscomplete liberation, a task which it came to achieve only on the 27th of March 1976, with the full pull-out of the invading South African forces thanks to a combination of political and diplomatic pressures, only realised with the solidarity and fraternal support of Cuba.
Nevertheless, the most important and complicated politico-diplomatic front in Southern Africa remained unfinished: achieving the independence of Zimbabwe and Namibia and the suppression of the segregationist apartheid regime in South Africa.
This goal ended up finally achieved in the early 80’s in a combination of synergies of allindependent States of the region which had then formed a “Frontline”, the germ of today’sSADC (Southern Africa Development Community).
For the case of Namibia, it is undeniable the perspicacious way Angola handled hersolidarity involvement in the negotiating process which led to the independenceof the territory, never abdicating the right to safeguard her national sovereignty.
A case in point is the course of the process for implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 435/78 (the “key” to the emancipation of the neighbouring people) which always faced attempts for a linkage with a simultaneous withdrawal of the Cuban forces fromAngola.
Measured in human lives and infrastructures destroyed, this was the bill Angola footed for such a standing, but earned her this gallantry which today makes her one of Africa’smost respected States.
In brief, its undeniable too the current contribution of Angola in the resolution of armed conflicts and the search for ways to relieve tensions in Southern and Central Africa, a fact Africa has acknowledged and deemed as exemplary in settling conflicts and disputes in other regions of the continent.
In the guidance of the country’s external relations during the period of political effervescence, such figures as Paulo Teixeira Jorge and Venancio de Moura were notable, but who always found in President Jose Eduardo dos Santos the author of the merits the country has scored across borders.
This endured generation of diplomats succeeded not only to guide with pride, mastery and coherence the struggle “fronts” against apartheid and for the liberation of Southern Africa but also to cement the respect for external sovereignty of the country, although opposed by some of the most astute and cunning diplomats of the epoch.
This accumulated experience earned the country admiration and respect, today patent inany international institution or organisation where Angola is pointed out as a firm bulwark andan example of success in the management and resolution of internal conflict which the community of Nations itself failed to quell.
In this 27 years of independence, Angola has expanded, diversified and consolidated as well her State relations with other countries, adhered to and ratified international conventions and treaties, and became a member of a variety of organisms, institutions and organisation of all sort.
Towards the close of the year 2002 – the one of definitive peace – the country has attained two memorable exploits of great historic reach as an independent nation: Chairpersonship of SADC and the winning of a United Nations Security Council seat as a non-permanent member.
By Mário Pedro