U.S. involvement in Angola has been sustained and significant, especially when weighed against U.S. engagement in the rest of Africa. Angola was one of the Clinton's administration's Africa priorities throughout the period of the Lusaka peace process. The U.S. has provided U.S.$500 million dollars for humanitarian assistance and to strengthen democratic institutions and civil society in Angola, while providing a major market for Angola's oil. The U.S. government has also supported commercial development through a U.S.$350 million Export-Import Bank loan and Trade Agency assistance. When U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited Angola in December 1997, she said that Angola supplied the U.S. with up to 7 percent of its oil imports, representing three times what Kuwait supplied just before the Iraqi invasion.135
During this period U.S. trade and investment with Angola has grown significantly. Angola in 1999 was the U.S.'s second largest site for investment and the third largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of this trade is from Angolan oil production, which exceeds 750,000 barrels per day and is expected to reach 2 million barrels per day within ten years. U.S. investment in the petroleum sector is currently valued at over $4 billion, with billions more of investment planned. The U.S. continued to be Angola's largest trading partner purchasing 50 percent of its oil exports.
U.S. policy towards Angola after the Lusaka accords only emerged after an extensive debate in the House of Representatives and the Senate over funding in 1995. Angola was sold by the administration as a special case for Africa because it represented the last piece in a regional settlement in which the U.S. had significant economic and diplomatic investment. During the cold war, Angola was the second largest recipient of covert aid from the U.S., after Afghanistan.136 In mid-December 1994 and in mid-January 1995, joint USAID/State Department missions visited Angola to review the status of the Lusaka Protocols, and assess what administration strategy should be.
The U.S. also continued to play an important role by providing 30 percent of the U.N.'s running costs in Angola (some $100 million between 1995 and 1997) and some 50 percent of the costs of relief operations. At a donor conference inGeneva on February 23, 1995 the U.S. pledged $106 million. The U.S. also played an important role at the September 25-26, 1995 UNDP-assisted Brussels Angola Round Table, pledged $190 million for development.
In April 1995, Shawn McCormick, then Africa director of the National Security Council , said current U.S. foreign policy toward Angola was primarily focused on "moving the train of peace forward." The theory being that by "moving the train further down the track," albeit in small, incremental ways, it would be harder to stop this momentum. The role of individuals continued to be an important element in fashioning Angolan policy. McCromick said the current "active engagement" in Angola was linked to the strong interest in the country of the National Security Adviser, Anthony Lake, his deputy, and the White House Special Envoy to Angola Paul Hare. McCormick, who had recently met with Jonas Savimbi in Bailundo, described UNITA as a "strict military machine with a political face," yet applauded it for sticking to "a single line." It was contrasted favorably with the Angolan government on the grounds that Luanda had "one official line but many voices," a feature that was now "a mater of concern among the international community." Savimbi was portrayed as an ageing war-weary battle horse, aware of his advancing years, tired of being on the run, wanting dialogue, and able to admit that UNITA had never been in a weaker military position.137
In a letter to Human Rights Watch, the U.S. ambassador to Angola summarized his view of U.S. policy as follows:
Our key effort to promote human rights in Angola has been helping to ensure adherence by the Government of Angola and UNITA to the peace process. At the same, we have increasingly made human rights a centerpiece of our bilateral relationship.138
In January 1995, Paul Hare, President Clinton's special envoy to Angola, visited several provinces. He was mandated to deliver a strong message to both sides that respect for the cease-fire protocol was a precondition for renewed international assistance. According to U.S. officials, monitoring of Angola by the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agencies was expanded in 1995, with evidence of Lusaka Protocol violations, especially weapons shipments,a priority. This information was reportedly sometimes presented through diplomatic channels to the government or UNITA for explanation and to support pressure for compliance. This use of intelligence information was sporadic, however, and the number of staff employed by the administration to cover Angola was reportedly seriously cut back in 1997, as higher priorities were given to the Zaire and later Congo crisis while demands also grew to cover Liberia and the Horn of Africa.139 By this account, there emerged a pattern of crisis management concerned only with the short term in which intelligence assets were shuffled around as new crisis emerged.
The first official trip by an Angolan head of state to the White House took place on December 8, 1995. The warm public embrace of President dos Santos by the Clinton administration dramatized the complete reversal of U.S. cold war policies in Angola, particularly since President Clinton at this time had met very few African heads of state. In early May, following the announcement that President dos Santos would not travel to Lusaka to meet UNITA leader Savimbi in their scheduled summit, frenetic U.S. diplomatic efforts contributed towards reversing this decision. The resulting meeting turned out to be a watershed in the peace process in 1995. The U.S. threat not to fund the U.N. operation in Angola and to curtail assistance unless the meeting happened was effective.
A new U.S. ambassador, Donald Steinberg, formerly senior director of African Affairs at the White House National Security Council, arrived in late July 1995. Steinberg replaced Edmund Dejarnette, who had been ambassador since May 1994. During the hearings for his nomination, Steinberg committed himself to pushing for human rights improvements in Angola. During his posting, Steinberg tried to travel widely to familiarize himself with the Angola situation and was noted to take a special, if discreet, interest in human rights issues. On several occasions he personally intervened on rights cases, to positive effect.
Ambassador Steinberg and Special Envoy Paul Hare visited Savimbi in Bailundo on October 24, 1995 and urged him to send his military team back to Luanda and start quartering his troops. In early November, Assistant Secretary George Moose delivered the same message. With the peace process badly stalled in early 1996, the mediators and international community put renewed pressure on UNITA to quarter its troops. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Madeline Albright arrived in Angola on January 18, and warned that international patience wasrunning out, and that there needed to be action prior to the expiry of UNAVEM III's mandate on February 8. She carried the same message to Savimbi in Bailundo. This visit was followed on April 25 by a trip by Ambassador Steinberg and Special Envoy Hare to Bailundo to push Savimbi further and hear why UNITA was not making rapid progress in quartering. This meeting appeared to make some progress and the numbers of people entering into the quartering areas increased to 63,000 by September, although it would subsequently be shown that many had not been active duty troops at all. Keeping up the pressure, Paul Hare was dispatched to Angola on September 9 to underscore U.S. concern about the continuing delays.140
An extraordinarily high number of senior U.S. officials visited Angola in 1996 to underpin the U.S.'s interest in the Angolan peace process: U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher; U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Madeline Albright (January); USAID Administrator Brian Atwood (February); Deputy Commander of the European Command General James Jamerson (March); Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, George Moose (January and July); and Paul Hare, President Clinton's Special Envoy (January and April).
Although at the time the Angolan authorities appeared responsive to this high level of engagement, the long term effect was less constructive. On the part of the U.S., the high level of attention did not reflect the real level of political interest in Washington and could not be sustained, especially when other crises such as the war in Zaire overtook Angola as the U.S. priority interest in the region in 1997.
The central focus of U.S. policy in Angola remained the implementation of the Lusaka Protocols and the avoidance of a return to conflict. Early in 1997 a series of demarches were presented to the Angolan government over its involvement in the DRC crisis and again in October over intervention in Congo-Brazzaville. UNITA also received a number of demarches about its foot-dragging and noncompliance with the conditions of the Lusaka Protocols. In September 1997 Ambassador Steinberg and Special Envoy Hare met Savimbi and urged him to facilitate the extension of state administration. This was followed up with another meeting in October, because despite Savimbi's promises the peace process had stalled again.
On May 19, 1998, the U.S. celebrated the fifth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Angola. U.S. diplomatic efforts continued in 1998 to focus on compliance with the Lusaka peace process. When U.S. Envoy Paul Hare and Ambassador Steinberg visited Bailundo in early April to urge Jonas Savimbi to complete his hand-over of territory to government control, Hare said he would not return again unless this was fulfilled. Despite strongAngolan government objections, Ambassador Steinberg visited Bailundo once more and presented one further message to Savimbi calling on him to fulfill his commitments to the Lusaka peace process. The U.S. also had less influence over government behavior in 1998 as relations deteriorated. Relations became even cooler after the Angolan intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo in August 1998, although the U.S. mediated after an Angolan request for help in organizing the evacuation of Rwanda troops cornered at Kitona in DRC in August 1998.141
In 1998 U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson and Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater visited Angola. U.S. Special Envoy Hare retired in July to become the head of the United States-Angola Chamber of Commerce. Donald Steinberg left Angola in October 1998 to become U.S. landmine envoy. His successor Joseph Sullivan failed to make any reference to human rights during his Senate confirmation hearing on July 23, but after taking up the post called for "fundamental codes of conduct" to be respected in the war.142
On October 28, 1998 U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan Rice visited Angola on the second leg of a seven-nation tour in the region. Rice was accompanied by National Security Council Adviser for African Affairs Gayle Smith and U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region Howard Wolpe. The U.S. delegation visited Angola to discuss the Angolan peace process and the current situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Bilateral relations had cooled so much by this stage that Rice failed to see President dos Santos or any official of substance. During her visit Susan Rice proposed the creation of a Bilateral Consultative Commission to broaden and deepen the engagement between Angola and the United States, a proposal the Angolan government later responded to positively in December, leading to further discussions between the two governments. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Witney Schneidman then visited Angola to discuss trade issues and how to proceed with the Bilateral Commission.
Schneidman arrived in Angola on February 12 for a three day visit. His primary focus was to discuss bilateral economic relations and the current situation of the war. Schneidman was carrying a letter from U.S. President Bill Clinton to President dos Santos urging him to support a continued U.N. presence in Angola. Schneidman's visit represented a new U.S. policy focus toward Angola,emphasizing trade and commerce and down-playing controversial issues such as human rights. Schneidman delivered the message that the "U.S. government believes it is time to move our economic relationship forward with Angola despite the current political-military problems in Angola."143 The U.S. Trade Secretary of State for Africa, Edward Casselle visited Luanda in July to encourage more business.
Senior Angolan government officials met with their U.S. counterparts on June 30 and July 1 in Washington D.C. as a first step toward establishing a Bilateral Consultative Commission to expand cooperation between the two countries The talks focused on commerce, transportation, energy, economic/financial matters, U.N. sanctions against UNITA, and the humanitarian crisis in Angola.144
Since late 1998 U.S. policy has been clear cut in regard to further dialogue with UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi. Dialogue would only commence if there was a full and immediate extension of state administration and the full and irreversible demilitarization and demobilization of UNITA, commitments assumed by UNITA in Lusaka. On May 4 the U.S. called upon UNITA "to respect the rights of civilians and desist from willful targeting of the civilian population. We also urge all concerned to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance."145 On June 21, the U.S. Department of State noted:
with grave concern reports that UNITA forces have been engaged in the shelling of the city of Huambo during the past three days. Such indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations cannot be condoned and are an unacceptable means for UNITA to conduct its war with the Government of Angola. The United States condemns UNITA's targeting of civilian populations and reiterates that both sides have an obligation to respect the rights of civilians and to desist from using non-combatants in the pursuit of military objectives.146
Just over a month later, on July 23, the State Department noted again:
with profound concern reports implicating UNITA forces in the willful killing of civilians...The raid in Catete unfortunately is the latest in a long series of attacks and counter attacks that UNITA and the armed forces of the Government of Angola continue to carry out in their ongoing armed conflict. But irrespective of UNITA's motives, we are deeply disturbed that UNITA now finds it necessary to resort to what are political assassinations to advance its military objectives. The United States Government condemns such reckless targeting of civilians and urges all parties to respect the rights of non-combatants and to refrain from attacking civilians in pursuit of military gains.147
The State Department on August 4 also supported the Angolan bishops' July 27 call for peace, stating that like the Bishops we condemn "acts of criminal banditry, under cover of war, [which] are multiplying in the country."148
European Union, Norway, and Canada
The E.U. has played a supportive role in the Angolan peace process but lacked the leverage of the U.S. Portugal, a Troika member and the former colonial power, continued to play an important role in the Angolan peace process but disappointingly was not active in pressing rights issues. Portugal is Angola's main non-oil trading partner.
The E.U. Presidency issued a declaration on Angola on February 21, pledging the Union to make a practical contribution to the consolidation of lasting peace. E.U. funds were directed towards mine clearance and deploying human rights monitors. In 1995 the E.U. provided ECU 6 million towards mine clearance and up to ECU 55 million on humanitarian projects. The E.U. also hosted the September UNDP Brussels Round Table Conference on Angola. On October 2 the European Commission published a declaration of its Common Position on Angola. In addition to supporting the effective implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, especially demobilization of ex-combatants, the E.U. announced its support for democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights in Angola. In late October the E.U. committed additional funding to expand UNAVEM III's program ofhuman rights monitors, providing ECU 600,000 for a human rights project to be managed by the Netherlands-based European Parliamentarians for (Southern) Africa (AWEPA).
On January 13, 1997, the European Commission granted a humanitarian aid package of ECU 14 million to Angola which would be administered by the European Community Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO). The humanitarian aid projects would actually be implemented by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), United Nations agencies, and various NGOs. ECHO's two priorities in Angola were medical aid and feeding programs.
On February 3, 1998 the European Union stated that it was very pleased with the progress toward compliance with the Lusaka Protocols in Angola, particularly with the induction of UNITA officers into the Angolan Army. However, the E.U. was concerned with the delays in establishing a Government of Unity and National Reconciliation. The E.U. also praised the governments of Portugal, the United States of America, and the Russian Federation for their efforts in the peace process in Angola.
On August 13, the European Union criticized UNITA's failure to comply with the demilitarization demands highlighted in Security Council Resolution 1118, and requested UNITA compliance with the terms of the Lusaka Protocols as well as information on the status and whereabouts of its military forces.
The E.U. invested approximately $100 million in emergency and economic and social development projects in 1998, making it Angola's major development and aid partner. Several E.U. members took a special interest in rights issues and pushed for these issues to be raised at the U.N. Security Council. The Netherlands and Norwegian embassies and Canadian government also supported workshops on rights issues. The British government decided to cut its aid to Angola in 1998 because the country failed to fit its criteria for aid on governance and human rights grounds. In February the E.U. commissioner for ACP countries, João de Deus Pinheiro, visited Luanda for three days but focused his attention only on development aid.
On July 8, 1998 the E.U. announced in Brussels that it had formally adopted the U.N. sanctions, freezing UNITA bank accounts and banning trade in diamonds from UNITA zones; E.U. regulations to this effect were established by the E.U. Council of Minister on July 28. The E.U. continued to use presidential statements and communiqués to express the alarm of its members at the deterioration of the peace process. On September 29, 1998 the Austrian E.U. presidency issued a communiqué warning of war and blaming UNITA. This was followed by presidential statements on December 28 and on January 21, 1999 calling for astrong U.N. involvement in Angola and appealing to the "Government of Angola and in particular to UNITA to respect human rights."149
On February 3, 1999 the E.U. Africa Working Group met in Brussels and discussed Angola and the future of the U.N. mission there. Human Rights Watch issued an open letter at this time recommending that the E.U. call for a continued U.N. human rights monitoring effort in Angola and the strengthening of the U.N. embargoes.150 Amnesty International also issued a statement at this time outlining the importance of the U.N.'s Human Rights Division in Angola.151
On June 8 the E.U. presidency issued a declaration strongly condemning the shooting down of a Russian aircraft in May by UNITA and calling upon the government and in particular UNITA to assist humanitarian agencies in their efforts.152 A few days later on June 16, the European Commission decided to grant Angola euros 10 million of emergency humanitarian aid.153
The E.U. Council of Ministers issued a further declaration about the resumption of civil war in Angola on July 22, 1999 in which it strongly urged UNITA to cease its military activities, agree upon a cease-fire, and enter into dialogue. The E.U. also called upon the government to accept a significant U.N. presence in Angola and stated that it "considers that a U.N. presence, including a Human Rights component, can contribute positively to a peaceful settlement of the Angolan conflict." It also appealed for the government and UNITA to respect human rights and to cooperate with humanitarian organisations in the delivery of emergency relief aid, to guarantee the safety and freedom of movement of their personnel, as well as access to affected populations.154
In January 1999 the Canadian government took a leadership role in the Angola Sanctions Committee at the U.N. after assuming its chair. Since then Canada has been seeking better implementation of the sanctions and has been in dialogue with NGOs, including Human Rights Watch.155 In May AmbassadorFowler toured southern Africa on a fact-finding mission as chair of the U.N. Sanctions Committee.
135 "Clinton Administration Policy And Human Rights in Africa," A Human Rights Watch Short Report, vol.10, no.1(A), March 1998.
136 George Wright, The Destruction of a Nation: United States' Policy Toward Angola since 1945 (London: Pluto Press, 1997)
137 Joanna Lewis, "Angola 1995: The Road to Peace," International Relations, vol. XIII, no.1, April 1996.
138 Letter to Janet Fleischman, Africa Division Washington Director, Human Rights Watch, from Ambassador Donald K. Steinberg, Luanda, December 28, 1995.
139 Ambassador Edmund Dejarnette in November 1994 had attempted to get agreement on an air reconnaissance effort to monitor violations of the Lusaka accord, but was told that this was too costly and that the U.S. priority was to invest in the U.N. according to U.S. diplomatic source, Maputo, May 1999.
140 Paul Hare, Angola's last best chance for Peace, pp.137-139.
141 Human Rights Watch was present in Luanda at this time and observed some of the discussions over this.
142 "Statement of Joseph Gerard Sullivan Ambassador-Designate to the Republic of Angola, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, July 23, 1998."
143 Presentation by U.S. Ambassador Joseph G. Sullivan to the U.S.-Angola Chamber of Commerce, Luanda, February 24, 1999.
144 The U.S. officials who held talks with the Angolans were Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan Rice, Special Assistant to the President for Africa Gayle Smith, as well as officials from the Departments of Defence, Commerce, Treasury, and Energy.
145 U.S. Department of State, "Humanitarian Workers in Angola," AEF204 05/04/99.
146 U.S. Department of State, "Press Statement by Jeffrey Murray, Acting Spokesman," June 21, 1999.
147 U.S. Department of State, "UNITA kills civilians in attack on Catete," M2 PRESSWIRE, July 23, 1999.
148 U.S. Department of State, "U.S. Encouraged by Angolan Catholic Bishops Call for Peace," August 4, 1999.
149 'European Union Communiqué on the "Situation in Angola," Brussels, January 21, 1999.
150 Human Rights Watch letter to E.U. Africa Working Group, Brussels, February 3, 1999.
151 Amnesty International, External News Service, January 22, 1999.
152 "Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union," Brussels, nr 8870/99, June 8, 1999.
153 Lusa (Macão), June 16, 1999.
154 European Council of Minister Press Release: 10130/99, July 22, 1999.
155 Human Rights Watch discussed the Angolan sanctions regimes with Patricia Fortier, Director, Regional Security and Peacekeeping Division, Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, London, March 5, 1999.