The successive putsches in Africa (Mali, Guinea, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Niger and Gabon) over the last three years are hardly to Washington’s taste. The United States will continue to support “civilian-led” regimes in Africa, declared this September 27 in Luanda the American Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, blaming the military who on the continent have “subverted the will of the people” thanks to coups d’état.
“When generals subvert the will of the people and put their own ambitions above the rule of law, the security situation deteriorates, and democracy dies,” he said in a speech on security partnerships of the United States in Africa, delivered in the Angolan capital.
The Defense Secretary reiterated the United States’ commitment to “support government policies that jointly advance peace, security, and democratic governance,” emphasizing that these “elements are inseparable.” “Africa needs armies that serve its citizens, not the other way around,” he added.
While the military in power in Bamako has turned to Russia, even going so far as to secure the services of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, Lloyd Austin stressed that “Africa deserves better than foreigners trying to tighten their grip on this continent. “And Africa deserves better than autocrats who sell cheap weapons, who support mercenary groups like the Wagner group or who deprive starving populations of grain all over the world,” he added in an allusion. to Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Progress with Angola
This visit to Angola, a first for an American Secretary of Defense, constitutes the third and final stop of Austin’s African tour, which visited Djibouti and Kenya. On September 25, in Nairobi, he indicated that the United States was evaluating different options regarding the future of its military presence in Niger, the day after France announced the withdrawal of its troops. These approximately 1,100 American soldiers stationed in Niger are engaged against jihadist groups active in this region.
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If Angola has long maintained close ties with China and Russia, the current president, João Lourenço, has since 2017 made a rapprochement with Washington, which will partly finance the renovation of a railway line connecting the Congolese mining regions to the Angolan port of Lobito, on the Atlantic Ocean. “In recent years, the relationship between the United States and Angola has made enormous progress,” Austin said.
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