OPINION: As we know, America’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has always made reference to Angola as a leading strategic overseas partner (despite objections by others), pointing out that Angola is at present busy fighting corruption and subsequently in a battle on the home front for the masses of the country with military hardware spending preventing economic progress. This type of objection means little to the Pentagon as we saw this week with the arrival in Luanda of the US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who is on a two-day visit to the country and reaffirming previous statements made by Mrs Clinton that the Republic of Angola continues to be a “strategic military partner” of the United States in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, mentioning the recent arrival of a significant number of US navy ships to Angola, including the powerful Robert Bradley. The ambassador hoped that Secretary Mabus’ visit and subsequent meetings with the government would strengthen the military sector and improve aspects of any future joint actions.
In reply, and perhaps not surprisingly, Angola’s Admiral Gaspar Rufino said that military cooperation between the two countries should and is mainly based on actions of support for programmes to teach English, to fight HIV/AIDS and to provide help to build clinics, as well as carrying out joint operations. At least the Admiral has the poorer people at heart and as far as the navy is concerned and the matter of cooperation within the framework of maritime security, Rufino said “there has only been a sharing of ideas and a sharing of views, but, substantively, one cannot say that there is anything or that anything else exists,” adding that “we in Angola have nothing in terms of maritime security with the United States at present.”
These are indeed, refreshing words, coming from a newly developing country.