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U.S., Angola Enjoying Strengthened and Renewed Relationship
(Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson addresses U.S.-Angola Forum)

By Charles W. Corey
Staff Writer

Washington — Both the United States and Angola are demonstrating a “renewed commitment to expand and strengthen” their bilateral relationship, a trend the United States hopes and expects will continue in the years to come, says Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson. The year 2009, he said, has been a year of new opportunities for U.S.-Angola relations.

In a November 17 address commemorating “U.S.-Angola Day” at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, Carson said, “The United States and Angola have always enjoyed close collaboration in the energy field, where Angola has been a major supplier of U.S. crude oil and where American private sector companies have been major investors.”

During Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s August 9–10 visit to Angola, Carson said, the collaboration between both countries became even closer when both Secretary Clinton and Angolan Minister of External Relations Assunção Afonso dos Anjos agreed to create a new U.S.-Angolan Strategic Partnership Dialogue.

Carson told his audience of business executives and diplomats attending the one-day forum, “The New Angola: Forging a Strategic Partnership,” that such a dialogue will serve as a “vehicle for our two countries to strengthen the level of collaboration and cooperation in a range of areas, such as energy, trade, security and agriculture.”

The first working groups under the new strategic dialogue met November 16 at the State Department, he said, to explore security cooperation and energy issues. “The success of these two initial meetings … demonstrates that close and regular dialogue can further cooperation and collaboration in a number of areas between our two governments,” he said.

In the security area, he said, discussions centered on collaborating and improving links on maritime and air security off Angola’s coast and in its skies. In the energy group, he said, “very productive” discussions took place on sources of renewable energy. He added that more meetings will be held in the months ahead to facilitate closer relations on a number of other topics.

Carson said the U.S. Embassy in Luanda, in partnership with the Angolan Energy Ministry, is now arranging for an expert on renewable energy to visit Angola in February 2010 to further advance what the working group discussed at the State Department. The Strategic Partnership Dialogue between both countries, he said, will be expanded to cover meetings on topics such as agriculture and food security, diplomatic and consular relations, and climate change and the environment, as well as public health and preventative health practices.

The strategic partnership, Carson reminded his audience, is not the only area in which the United States and Angola are strengthening their relationship. On May 19, Angolan Foreign Minister dos Anjos and the U.S. trade representative, Ambassador Ronald Kirk, signed a trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA), which, Carson explained, will provide a forum to address trade issues and enhance investment.

“Under the trade and investment framework agreement, the United States and Angola will create a joint council to address financial and business issues that include but are not limited to trade capacity building, intellectual property rights, environmental issues and enhancing the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in trade and investment,” he said.

The United States and Angola have also agreed on “terms of reference” for posting a U.S. Department of the Treasury adviser in Luanda to work closely with the Angolan Ministry of Finance and the Angolan Central Bank to support Angola’s efforts to improve its debt issuance and management system, he said, which should help the country to more easily tap the international financial markets for government funding, thus sparing it from having to resort to using more expensive international credit lines or mortgaging its future oil production. Additionally, he said, such financial management should help Angola minimize future shocks to the Angolan economy when oil and diamond revenues plummet.

In another area, Carson said the United States would like to provide Angola with a resident adviser on tax and monetary policy and explore the establishment of a Peace Corps program in Angola to provide English teachers at the secondary and tertiary levels and teachers to help the country develop computer skills and technology.

Carson said he sees an “exciting year ahead of us, in which the United States government and the Angolan government are working more closely together in partnership and in harmony to promote an Angola that is peaceful, secure, prosperous, healthy and democratic … where U.S. and Angolan ties are deeper and stronger than in the past and where American and Angolan companies and businessmen are collaborating and working together to build a stronger economy in Angola and stronger and broader trade links between Angola and the United States.

The Angola that we now see, he said, is an Angola of “great potential and great promise,” and the United States wants to be its partner.

Also speaking at the morning session were U.S. Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who called the U.S.-Angola relationship “robust”; Angolan Ambassador to the United States Josefina Pitra Diakité, who told the forum Angola is a “new country” on the move; and João Baptista Borges, Angola’s vice minister of energy, who, speaking in Portuguese, told the group that “peace has created a new environment for economic reform,” which has transformed Angola into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.  Web site:

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