United States Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met on Thursday with Angolan President João Lourenço in Luanda and both leaders discussed a wide range of issues, including trade and investment as well as economic reforms and anti-corruption initiatives.
Sherman embarked on a three-nation African tour on Monday along with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Mary Catherine Phee and National Security Council Senior Director for Africa Dana Banks.
“Deputy Secretary Sherman and President Lourenço discussed deepening our strong bilateral relationship and the importance of bolstering trade and U.S. private investment and promoting progress on economic reforms and anti-corruption initiatives,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.
Price said the leaders “addressed our work together to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and address the climate crisis. The Deputy Secretary and President also discussed opportunities for expanded cooperation on regional security and cooperation among Atlantic nations on shared maritime challenges and opportunities in the Atlantic Basin.”
Sherman also met on Thursday with Angolan Foreign Minister Tete Antonio in Luanda. Deputy Secretary Sherman and Foreign Minister Antonio discussed the strong and deepening partnership between the United States and Angola, Price said.
“They discussed areas of shared interest, including strengthening people-to-people ties, and also addressed issues of regional and global security,” he added.
In addition, the first female American Deputy Secretary of State also met today with Angolan Minister of State Chief Francisco Furtado in Luanda.
“Deputy Secretary Sherman and Angolan Minister of State Chief Furtado discussed the growing bilateral security relationship between the United States and Angola, as well as opportunities to deepen regional and multilateral cooperation,” Price said.
On Wednesday the same American officials met with their South African counterparts in Pretoria, South Africa, and discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said in March that his country had been approached to play the role of mediator in the devastating war that has left thousands of people dead and millions forcibly displaced.
Officially, American officials would only acknowledge in a statement that they discussed ‘global peace and security’ but an official told Today News Africa that they discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that a possible mediation role by South Africa came up.
On April 9, U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke with President Ramaphosa and both leaders discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Their phone call came just weeks after Mr. Ramaphosa asserted that NATO provoked Russia into invading Ukraine by expanding eastward despite warnings from amongst its own members and officials.
Barely two weeks after Biden’s call, United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with South African National Security Advisor Sydney Mufamadi on April 26 and both leaders discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as other issues, including recent deadly floods in Kwa Zulu Natal.
In a readout from their conversation, the White House said back then that Sullivan “emphasized the United States’ continued readiness to work closely with South Africa to address the crisis in Ukraine; enhance our partnership on trade and investment, health systems and health security, and climate change; and support counterterrorism and regional security efforts.”
In March, South Africa was also one of 35 countries that abstained from voting on the United Nations resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Belarus joined Russia in voting against the resolution. However, most other countries in the world voted for the resolution condemning the devastating invasion.
During a speech in parliament, the South African leader whose country was in the receiving end of racism from the West for decades, asserted that the war in Ukraine could have been avoided.
“The war could have been avoided if NATO had heeded warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less, instability in the region,” Mr. Ramaphosa said.
The South African leader clarified that he did not want to take sides to undermine his country’s role as a possible mediator. He said he had been approached to mediate in the Ukraine-Russia war without specifying who approached him.
On Wednesday, United States Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who is on a three-nation African tour along with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Mary Catherine Phee and National Security Council Senior Director for Africa Dana Banks, met South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor and Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Alvin Botes in Pretoria.
The Department of State described their meetings as “warm and productive” and that “Deputy Secretary Sherman and Minister Pandor discussed the importance of the U.S.-South Africa partnership and shared priorities including health, climate, and regional and global peace and security.”
“Deputy Secretary Sherman and Deputy Minister Botes, who was joined by Economic Advisor to President Ramaphosa Trudi Makhaya, discussed the growing partnership on mutual areas of interest, including trade, investment, and infrastructure. Deputy Secretary Sherman also expressed condolences on the loss of life and destruction as a result of the weather disaster in KwaZulu-Natal in April,” the statement added.