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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Angolan President in Moscow

Jose Eduardo dos Santos in Moscow

The Angolan President, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, visits Moscow between October 30th and November 1st this year at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin.

According to the Angolan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “The visit of the head of Angolan state, while being aimed at strengthening further the relations between the two countries, will take place in the year marked by the 30th anniversary of signing of the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between Angola and Russia”.

Who is Jose Eduardo dos Santos?

Born in Luanda on 28th August 1942, Jose Eduardo dos Santos took part in clandestine political groups after the MPLA (People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola) was set up in December 1956, founding the Youth Wing of this movement and coordinating its activities from exile, joining the People’s Army for the Liberation of Angola in 1962. In 1963 he went to Baku, USSR, to study Engineering at the Institute of Oil and Gas, graduating in 1969 and leading the Section of Angolan Students in the USSR during this period.

After his graduation, he frequented a year course in Military Telecommunications and later went on to lead the Telecommunications Services of the Northern Front of the MPLA. From 1974 to 1975, he was a Member of the Political Committee for the Northern Front, before being nominated to the Central Committee and the Political Bureau.

After June 1975 he was the Coordinator of the Department of External Relations of the MPLA and Director of the Department of Health. After the Proclamation of Independence of Angola on 11th November 1975, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs, taking Angola to membership of the OAU and UNO (1976). The First Congress of the MPLA-PT nominated Jose Eduardo dos Santos Member of the Central Committee and Political Bureau and he became Secretary of the Central Committee for Education, Culture and Sports and later, for National Reconstruction, Economic Development and Planning. He was Vice Prime Minister until December 1978 and then Minister for Planning.

After the death of President Agostinho Neto in 1979, Jose Eduardo dos Santos was nominated President (20th September 1979) and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

Jose Eduardo dos Santos led Angola through 23 years of civil war, in the midst of external aggression and internally, with various factions taking advantage of the nation’s wealth, he fought hard to clear the path towards peace, which happened with the withdrawal of foreign forces in 1992 and the first multi-party elections in the same year.

After a serious crisis, caused by the refusal of Dr. Savimbi’s UNITA to accept the election result, Jose Eduardo dos Santos fought for peace, the process culminating in the Lusaka Peace Agreements in November 1994, in which both sides agreed to a negotiated solution and which paved the way for the eventual isolation of UNITA, leading to the death of Dr. Jonas Savimbi in February 2002 and the end of the armed conflict.