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From 1975 to 1989, Angola was aligned with the Eastern bloc, in particular the Soviet Union, Libya, and Cuba. Since then, it has focused on improving relationships with Western countries, cultivating links with other Portuguese-speaking countries, and asserting its own national interests in Central Africa through military and diplomatic intervention. In 1993, it established formal diplomatic relations with the United States. It has entered the Southern African Development Community as a vehicle for improving ties with its largely Anglophone neighbors to the south. Zimbabwe and Namibia joined Angola in its military intervention in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where Angolan troops remain in support of the Joseph Kabila government. It also has intervened in the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville) to support the existing government in that country.
Since 1998, Angola has successfully worked with the UN Security Council to impose and carry out sanctions on UNITA. More recently, it has extended those efforts to controls on conflict diamonds, the primary source of revenue for UNITA. At the same time, Angola has promoted the revival of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) as a forum for cultural exchange and expanding ties with Portugal (its former ruler) and Brazil (which shares many cultural affinities with Angola) in particular.
Cape Verde signed a friendship accord with Angola in December 1975, shortly after Angola gained its independence. Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau served as stop-over points for Cuban troops on their way to Angola to fight UNITA rebels and South African troops. Prime Minister Pedro Pires sent FARP soldiers to Angola where they served as the personal bodyguards of Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos.
Many thousands of Angolans fled the country after the civil war. More than 20,000 people were forced to leave the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2009, an action the DR Congo said was in retaliation for regular expulsion of Congolese diamond miners who were in Angola illegally. Angola sent a delegation to DR Congo's capital Kinshasa and succeeded in stopping government-forced expulsions which had become a "tit-for-tat" immigration dispute. "Congo and Angola have agreed to suspend expulsions from both sides of the border," said Lambert Mende, DR Congo information minister, in October 2009. "We never challenged the expulsions themselves; we challenged the way they were being conducted — all the beating of people and looting their goods, even sometimes their clothes," Mende said.
Namibia borders Angola to the south. In 1999 Namibia signed a mutual defense pact with its northern neighbor Angola. This affected the Angolan Civil War that had been ongoing since Angola's independence in 1975. Namibia's ruling party SWAPO sought to support the ruling party MPLA in Angola against the rebel movement UNITA, whose stronghold is in southern Angola, bordering to Namibia. The defence pact allowed Angolan troops to use Namibian territory when attacking Jonas Savimbi's UNITA.
Angolan-Nigerian relations are primarily based on their roles as oil exporting nations. Both are members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the African Union and other multilateral organizations.
Angola-South Africa relations are quite strong as the ruling parties in both nations, the African National Congress in South Africa and the MPLA in Angola, fought together during the Angolan Civil War and South African Border War. They fought against UNITA rebels, based in Angola, and the apartheid-era government in South Africa who supported them. Nelson Mandela mediated between the MPLA and UNITA factions during the last years of Angola's civil war.
Angola-Zimbabwe relations have remained cordial since the birth of both states, Angola in 1975 and Zimbabwe in 1979, during the Cold War. While Angola's foreign policy shifted to a pro-U.S. stance based on substantial economic ties, under the rule of President Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe's ties with the West soured in the late 1990s.
Following a request by the government of Guinea-Bissau, Angola sent there a contingent of about 300 troops meant to help putting an end to the political-military unrest in that country, and to reorganize the local military forces. In fact, these troops were perceived as a kinf of Pretorian Guard for the ruling party, PAIGC. In the beginning of April 2012, when a new military Coup d'état was under preparation, the Angolan regime decided to withdraw its military mission from Guinea-Bissau.
Relations between the two countries have not always been cordial due to the former French government's policy of supporting militant separatists in Angola's Cabinda province and the international Angolagate scandal embarrassed both governments by exposing corruption and illicit arms deals. Following French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit in 2008, relations have improved.
Angola-Portugal relations have significantly improved since the Angolan government abandoned communism and nominally embraced democracy in 1991, embracing a pro-U.S. and to a lesser degree pro-Europe foreign policy. Portugal ruled Angola for 400 years, colonizing the territory from 1483 until independence in 1975. Angola's war for independence did not end in a military victory for either side, but was suspended as a result of a coup in Portugal that replaced the Caetano regime.
Russia has an embassy in Luanda. Angola has an embassy in Moscow and an honorary consulate in Saint Petersburg. Angola and the precursor to Russia, the Soviet Union, established relations upon Angola's independence.
The Defence Minister of Serbia, Dragan Šutanovac, stated in a 2011 meeting in Luanda that Serbia would negotiate with the Angolan military authorities for the construction of a new military hospital in Angola.
Commercial and economic ties dominate the relations of each country. Parts of both countries were part of the Portuguese Empire from the early 16th century until Brazil's independence in 1822. As of November 2007, "trade between the two countries is booming as never before"
Relations between Angola and several Latin American countries, including Mexico, have become of increasing priority due to the geographical proximity and cultural similarities. Angola has an embassy in Mexico City, and Mexico has an embassy in Luanda.
From the mid-1980s through at least 1992, the United States was the primary source of military and other support for the UNITA rebel movement, which was led from its creation through 2002 by Jonas Savimbi. The U.S. refused to recognize Angola diplomatically during this period.
Relations between the United States of America and the Republic of Angola (formerly the People's Republic of Angola) have warmed since Angola's ideological renunciation of Marxism before the 1992 elections.
Angola-Israel relations, primarily based on trade and pro-United States foreign policies, are excellent. In March 2006, the trade volume between the two countries amounted to $400 million. The Israeli ambassador to Angola is Avraham Benjamin. In 2005, President José Eduardo dos Santos visited Israel.
As of 2007, economic relations played "a fundamental role in the bilateral relations between the two governments". Japan has donated towards demining following the civil war.
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visited Angola in June 2006, offering a US$9 billion loan for infrastructure improvements in return for petroleum. The PRC has invested heavily in Angola since the end of the civil war in 2002. João Manuel Bernardo, the current ambassador of Angola to China, visited the PRC in November 2007.
Angola-Vietnam relations were established in August 1971, four years before Angola gained its independence, when future President of Angola Agostinho Neto visited Vietnam. Angola and Vietnam have steadfast partners as both transitioned from Cold War-era foreign policies of international communism to pro-Western pragmatism following the fall of the Soviet Union.
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