European Union highlights “very strong” partnership and “dialogue” with Angola
The European Union (EU) ambassador in Angola defended today that the partnership with the African country, which includes the dialogue on human rights, remains solid, assuming, however, “concern” with the events in Cafunfo.
Jeannette Seppen, who arrived in Angola in September last year, replacing Tomas Ulicny, asked last week for a meeting with the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, regarding the incidents in the province of Lunda Norte.
The meeting “has not yet happened”, but got a positive response from the Angolan authorities, with only the practical details for scheduling remaining, said the European official.
On Thursday, a community spokesman told Lusa that the European Union delegation in Angola addressed, on behalf of the EU and the heads of mission, a letter to Francisco Queiroz deploring the events and requesting a meeting to address the issue directly with the minister, recalling the importance of international human rights standards.
The case should not affect, however, the “very strong” partnership between Angola and the European Union, said the ambassador.
“It is a dialogue partnership between partners, between friends”, said Jeannette Seppen, in an interview with Lusa, recalling that the European Union delegation has been present in the African country since 1986 and the partnership was reconfirmed through the “Joint Path” agreement, signed in 2012, and which aims to strengthen the dialogue in an interactive and participatory cooperation framework.
“It is in this context that we decided to talk about everything, the most difficult subjects and those that are slightly easier”, pointed out the diplomat of Dutch nationality, admitting that what happened in the mining town of the diamond-rich province of Lunda Norte is “a great European Union concern ”.
Cafunfo was the scene of incidents between the police and the popular on January 30, which resulted in an undetermined number of deaths and injuries, and has been under a strong security force since then.
On that day, according to the Angolan police, about 300 people linked to the Portuguese Protectorate Movement Lunda Tchokwe (MPPLT), which defends the autonomy of the region, tried to invade a police station, forcing the law enforcement agencies to defend themselves, causing six deaths .
The police version is contradicted by MPPLT leaders, opposition political parties and local civil society, who claim to have been an attempted demonstration, previously reported to the authorities, and that the demonstrators were unarmed.
Jeannette Seppen pointed out that human rights play a prominent role within the EU and in the bloc’s foreign policy: Angola, to find out exactly what happened and reinforce the importance we attach to the protection of human rights ”.
“We will see what the minister will tell us,” added Jeannette Seppen, stressing that dialogue “is the fundamental instrument in a partnership and fundamental in diplomatic relations”.
The European diplomat considered that, as in other countries, the covid-19 pandemic is also having an “enormous impact” in Angola and the phenomenon must also be framed from the perspective of human rights.
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