Angolan Head of State João Lourenço was decorated on Wednesday by his counterpart Sergio Mattarella, with the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, the highest awarded in the European country.
The Order of Merit of the Italian Republic was created in 1951 with the aim of rewarding services rendered in areas such as the economy, the arts, literature, social activities or public service, among others.
The award ceremony took place during an official dinner offered to the Angolan statesman and his delegation by the Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
João Lourenço, who is in Italy for a two-day state visit, said that the Angolan people "greatly deserve this distinction", for their contribution to the cause of the liberation of peoples, peace and harmony among nations.
Also during the dinner, President João Lourenço awarded his counterpart Sergio Mattarella and the First Lady of the Italy, Laura Mattarella, the Agostinho Neto Order, the highest decoration of the Angolan State awarded to foreign entities.
"The move is meant to recognition for the support that the Italian people, through civil society organisations, gave to the national liberation struggle that led us to national independence," said the Angolan President.
Angolan statesman highlighted the fact that Italy was the first European country to recognise, in February 1976, Angola as a sovereign state, and knew how to maintain relations of friendship and economic cooperation with the country in difficult years of the armed conflict to date.
In the economic context, the Angolan Head of State said that the business environment in the country is "quite favourable" to foreign private investments in all areas of the economy.
Therefore, he reinforced the hope that the visit to Italy represents an important step in building a solid partnership with mutual benefits.
The President of Republic of Angola took the opportunity to express concern about the course of conflicts in the world, having highlighted those that exist in Africa, the Middle East, the situation on the Korean peninsula and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
As for the war in Ukraine, President João Lourenço considered that it was urgent to reach an immediate ceasefire and start talks that would bring lasting peace.
Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)