LUANDA Feb 24 Angola said on Friday that
Portugal's decision to charge its Vice President Manuel Vicente
with corruption and money laundering was a "serious attack" that
threatened relations between the two states.
A foreign affairs ministry statement said Angola "considers
unfriendly and nonsensical the way the Portuguese authorities
conveyed this news which constitutes a serious attack on the
Republic of Angola and is likely to disrupt the good relations
existing between the two states."
The prosecutor general's office in Lisbon last week said it
was charging Vicente, who is accused of bribing a magistrate
when he was chief executive of state oil company Sonangol.
Vicente is a powerful figure in Angola, Africa's
second-biggest crude producer, but he is no longer seen as a
successor to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who said earlier
this month he would not run in this year's presidential
election, calling an end to 38 years as head of state.
The ruling People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola
(MPLA) approved Defence Minister Joao Lourenco, 62, as its
presidential candidate instead of Vicente, at one time seen as
the next in line.
Angola is a former Portuguese colony and has branded
previous attempts by Portugal to investigate Vicente as "revenge
by the former colonial master" and "neo-colonialism".
Rights groups and financial institutions such as the
International Monetary Fund have frequently raised concerns
about graft and the squandering of oil revenues in Angola, where
most of the population lives in abject poverty.
(Reporting by Herculano Coroado; Writing by Ed Stoddard;
Editing by Tom Heneghan)