Africa-Press – Angola. Diplomatic relations between Angola and the United States of America once again registered another leap forward today, with the meeting, in the Oval Room of the White House, between Presidents João Lourenço and Joe Biden.
The Head of State has been in Washington since yesterday for a meeting with his counterpart Joe Biden. The President of the Republic arrived in the North American capital at 4 pm local time.
It is the first time that the two statesmen have met officially, in this format, to discuss issues linked to strengthening bilateral cooperation.
According to a statement released by the Presidency of the Republic, João Lourenço and Joe Biden will analyze, during the historic meeting, issues linked to bilateral cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, climate and energy and, in particular, the development of the Lobito, which connects Angola to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia for global markets.
“The meeting between Presidents João Lourenço and Joe Biden confirms the two countries’ interest in working in strategic partnership to deal with regional and global challenges”, reads the statement from the Presidency of the Republic.
For her part, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre added that the meeting, which aims to crown 30 years of relations between the two countries, will be based on the principles of the US-Africa Leaders Summit, which He brought together, at the same table, in December last year, in Washington, Joe Bidem and African leaders, including President João Lourenço.
The US-Africa Summit, convened by the US President, aimed to demonstrate the United States’ lasting commitment to the African continent and the need to strengthen cooperation on shared global priorities.
The first signs that João Lourenço and Joe Biden would meet, at any moment, were revealed this month, by the North American President himself, at the White House, when asked, by the way, by the correspondent of Televisão Pública de Angola (TPA), on the occasion of the celebrations of the 48th anniversary of National Independence, celebrated this year. Without giving a date, Joe Biden only assured that he would hold this meeting with his Angolan counterpart. “I don’t know when, but I’m sure I will meet him”, said the North American statesman, at the time. Invited, on this same occasion, to speak about the 48th anniversary of National Independence, Joe Biden highlighted that Angolans must be very proud to be building an Angola that, he highlighted, will “become one of the leaders in Africa in the economy”.
This will be the second time that the two leaders have met at the White House. João Lourenço is the first African President to be received, this year, at the North American leader’s official residence. The first time that João Lourenço and Joe Biden met in this place, but in a different format, took place in December last year, during a dinner hosted by Joe Biden for African leaders participating in the US-Africa Summit. On the occasion, the two Heads of State, who were accompanied by their respective wives, namely Ana Dias Lourenço and Jill Biden, greeted each other with a handshake and took a photo for posterity. The reception of a leader in the Oval Office of the White House is a moment that always attracts attention from the international media, given the political and diplomatic value that the act entails.
It is still unknown whether the format prepared for this moment will include brief statements to the press, at the beginning and end of the talks, but, as a general rule, leader receptions in the Oval Office of the White House reserve these two moments for the press. It is believed, therefore, that today’s meeting between João Lourenço and Joe Biden will not deviate from the rule.
The Oval Office, the most famous compartment in the White House, is the Office and workplace of the President of the United States. This is where foreign guests are received on state visits.
Strategic issues motivated the meeting
Angola’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Francisco da Cruz, said that strategic issues, such as peace and security, are the basis of President João Lourenço’s visit to the White House.
The diplomat, who was part of the team that worked on establishing diplomatic relations between Angola and the United States of America, at the time as an advisor, said that the role of President João Lourenço in resolving conflicts on the continent, the dynamics he has been undertaking in framework of the role of African Union Champion for Peace and Reconciliation in Africa, regional economic issues arising from investments in the Lobito Corridor, to improve access to strategic minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia led President Biden to keep this meeting.
From the point of view of gains, Francisco da Cruz made it known that this meeting between João Lourenço and Joe Biden, at the White House, will allow Angola to reinforce American recognition in regional issues that are important for a common agenda.
Impact on Angolan diplomacy
Angolan political scientist and university professor Osvaldo Isata considered João Lourenço’s reception at the White House an important factor for Angolan diplomacy and believes that it will generate a “great impact” on its economic axis.
The academic believes that this meeting will help Angola to reintegrate itself even further into the International System, which he said is undergoing “very important” changes, especially with regard to economic power.
“This meeting will further soften relations between Angola and the USA, which date back 30 years”, he stressed.
Osvaldo Isata said that João Lourenço’s reception at the White House, in this official format, also ends up being the recognition that Angola has been making a great effort for peace and security in Africa, with emphasis on the Southern Region, noting that the new configuration of the International System prioritizes peace and security as important elements. “And this is one of the pivots of Angolan diplomacy led by President João Lourenço, who has been able to do his work in a peaceful, calm manner, inviting the belligerent actors in the situation in Angola to search for solutions”, he highlighted.
Osvaldo Isata called on Angolan diplomats to take due advantage of this meeting, warning of the need not to reduce Angolan diplomacy to President João Lourenço.
Regarding the selection of the energy theme for this meeting, the academic understands that this results from the fact that the world is experiencing the era of energy transition, a theme that he said occupies an important field within the framework of modern geopolitics. “What we have been observing is that all the great powers that are interested in remaining in the Geopolitical System are those focused on the transformations that the system itself brings”, explained Osvaldo Isata, for whom the energy transition is one of the privileged themes in this 21st century.
The political scientist made it known that the energy transition issue is, from the point of view of its renewal, linked to a more technological transformational thought, aimed at helping States in the development processes. “So much so that energy continues to be an important resource, as is oil,” he highlighted.
Value of being received in the Oval Office of the White House
Focusing on the importance of João Lourenço being received at the White House, political scientist Osvaldo Isata highlighted that the act means that Angola will be within the American interest, with the opportunity to benefit from the benefits that the North American State has towards its actors. Furthermore, he added, Americans start to see the country as a strategic and trustworthy partner.
This act, he said, will boost commercial exchanges, which could open up from the point of view of large industries. “Our prestige in the International System will increase, because our relationship with the American giant, from a geopolitical point of view, is a partnership relationship”, he defended.
Safe country to invest
For International Relations analyst Osvaldo Mboco, the reception of President João Lourenço at the White House can be seen as the recognition of the American Government in relation to the structural changes taking place in Angola, with emphasis on transparency, combating corruption and improving the environment of business, as well as the adoption of management practices, both at a political and economic level, that are aligned with universally recognized values. “It is a clear demonstration that Angola is a safe country”, he stressed.
The International Relations analyst indicated that this “historic meeting” is a kind of certification that could, to a certain extent, influence investors from the great powers to look at Angola as a good country to invest in and one that is open to investment. “This The meeting opens a new page in the history of diplomatic relations between the two countries and that Angolan foreign policy is exploring new spaces in a direction closer to the West”, he highlighted.
Reform of the United Nations Security Council
International Relations analyst Nkikinamo Tussamba predicts that João Lourenço and Joe Biden will take advantage of the opportunity to address the issue related to the reform of the United Nations Security Council, as it is a measure that is necessary, taking into account the current context.
President João Lourenço has been defending the reform of the Security Council for some time now, in the major international events in which he participates. Nkikinamo Tussamba highlighted that this meeting is not common and that the Angolan Head of State should take advantage of the opportunity to discuss with the leader of the greatest power in the world the great ideas he has about the country and the African continent. “Being received in the Oval Office of the White House is a personal prestige and gives importance to the politics of the country of the President received. Diplomacy benefits a lot, because it is the center of discussion of major world issues”, he stressed.
Beginning of diplomatic relations
Angola and the United States of America marked, this year, 30 years of diplomatic relations. Diplomatic relations began on May 19, 1993. In 2010, the two countries signed a strategic partnership agreement and cooperate in several areas, with emphasis on Trade, Finance, Energy, Manufacturing Industry, Security, Health and Justice. The third largest trading partner of the USA in Sub-Saharan Africa, Angola exports oil, diamonds to that country and purchases food and equipment for the oil sector from this country.