Angola and Congo eye end to border, oil dispute

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Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo will set up a joint commission to resolve a long-standing border dispute that recently culminated with accusations Angola was stealing oil from its northern neighbour.
Reuters notes Angolan Prime Minister Paulo Kassoma said he was also ready to bolster ties with the Congo.
“I’m referring to cross-border trade, cooperation in the oil sector, energy, transportation, fishing, defence, security and other areas of common interest for both parties,” Kassoma said after meeting with his Congolese counterpart in Luanda.
Angola pumps most of its oil from wells off the coast of Cabinda — a northern enclave separated from the rest of Angola by a strip of Congolese land — while mineral-rich Congo has no offshore operations of its own.
Congo’s Oil Minister Rene Isekemamba Nkeka recently told Reuters most of Angola’s offshore oil production in Cabinda rightfully belonged to Congo.
The move to claim Angolan offshore oil field comes as Congo’s economy teeters on the brink of collapse due to a worldwide drop in demand for its mineral exports, its main source of foreign currency revenues.
Although strong regional allies, the neighbours have been at odds over their 9,000 km land border. Congo has repeatedly accused Angolan troops of trespassing onto its territory.
Angola has said troop incursions into Congo were aimed at controlling the flow of illegal immigrants into its territory.
Congolese Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito said he was also ready to work to improve ties between the two nations.
“My country’s government thinks that whatever the reason for the problems that may arise between bordering nations (…) we should aim for a diplomatic solution that respects the sovereignty of each nation,” Muzito said.