Angola: Stand Against Corruption, Clinton Tells Legislators

10 August 2009

The visiting United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has called on Angola's national assembly to demand from the country's government "accountability and transparency, and [to] stand against financial corruption and abuse of power."

Addressing legislators in Luanda on Sunday, she also called for a presidential election "in the near future." However, she added, "consolidating democracy does not depend just on holding elections." She called for "strong institutions like an independent judiciary, an independent and free press, the protection of minority rights."

She acknowledged that "in some respects you’ve already made more progress than we have: You have 40 percent women in your parliament."

Earlier Sunday, Angolan Foreign Minister Assuncao Afonso dos Anjos defended the government's record on elections in remarks to journalists. "We're criticized because we didn’t do elections. We asked for more time. We did it [elections for the legislature]. We are asking one more time now for this too [presidential elections]."

During the same session with journalists, Clinton had said the U.S. had been "encouraged by the steps the Angolan Government has taken for greater democratic participation." The elections for a legislature, the first in 16 years, had been "peaceful and credible," she said.

On corruption, she also said it was "only fair" to recognize that Angola had begun to increase transparency: "The Angolan Government is now publishing online the revenues they receive from the oil industry. They are working with United States Treasury officials on how to bring more transparency and efficiency into the government budget and fiscal affairs."

She said that "issues of good governance, rule of law, [and] anti-corruption efforts" would form part of an ongoing strategtic partnership the two countries were forging.

Also on Sunday, Clinton witnessed the signing of an agreement in which the U.S. oil company, Chevron - which operates off the Angolan coast - joined a partnership including U.S. aid agencies to help Angolan farmers rebuild the agricultural sector.

The partnership reflected the Obama administration's new approach to development assistance, Clinton said: "While we will continue to provide emergency food aid to address immediate crises, we are focused on helping countries build mechanisms that sustain progress in agriculture over the long term."

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