Mr Chikoti is the first Angolan foreign minister to visit Switzerland since 2001. The last high-level contact between the two countries took place in 2013 when Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga visited Angola. In recent years, Angola and Switzerland have steadily strengthened their relations. The two foreign ministers signed a memorandum of understanding calling for regular political consultations, with the aim of further strengthening relations between their countries. Mr Burkhalter thanked the Angolan government for its close cooperation in the field of migration, and emphasised that the implementation of two migration agreements signed in 2013 was an important step towards further cooperation between the two countries. Both Angola and Switzerland are immigration countries and can benefit from sharing their experiences.
Mr Burkhalter also expressed his satisfaction with an agreement reached between Switzerland and Angola in 2012 to return assets worth USD 43 million to Angola. These assets were confiscated in 2008 following proceedings initiated by the Geneva judicial authorities for money laundering. The assets are being used for projects designed to benefit the Angolan people. One of the projects involves building an agricultural school in the Luanda Sul province to promote the economic development and diversification of the Angolan economy.
Angola has experienced a remarkable economic upswing since a peace accord was signed in 2002, ending a decades-long civil war, thanks mainly to its abundant natural resources and the reconstruction of its infrastructure. Although economic relations between Angola and Switzerland are rather modest, direct investments by Swiss companies in Angola have increased in recent years. The two countries are negotiating an investment promotion agreement with the aim of further promoting these investments.
Mr Burkhalter and Mr Chikoti also discussed various regional and international matters. Angola is a major regional player involved in the international effort to give Africa a united voice. Mr Burkhalter congratulated Angola on its election to the UN Security Council for 2015 - 2016, and spoke with Mr Chikoti about the security situation in various parts of the world, including Burundi and Ukraine.
Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Angola
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