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Amid tensions, Angola postpones summit with Portugal

Angola on Tuesday announced it was postponing a summit with former colonial power Portugal while denying that recent tensions had played a role in the move.

“Bilateral cooperation between Angola and Portugal is ongoing, there is no problem, but the summit will not take place in February,” Angolan Justice Minister Rui Mangueira told reporters.

Mangueira was speaking on the sidelines of a forum in Macau, a former Portuguese colony that is now a Special Administrative Region of China.

Relations between Luanda and Lisbon have been strained since November 2012 when leaks began appearing in the Portuguese press about an investigation into alleged money-laundering and tax fraud by high-level Angolan politicians.

Targets reportedly include Vice President Manuel Vicente.

A maladroit “diplomatic apology” for the investigation by Portuguese Foreign Minister Rui Machete in mid-October threw oil on the fire, prompting Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos to remark that “things were not going well” between the two countries.

They had planned to hold their first-ever summit in Luanda in February, expected to result in far-reaching economic and cultural accords.

Trade relations have blossomed in recent years with Portugal in economic crisis and oil-rich Angola enjoying a boom.