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Cablegate: Scenesetter for Das Stephen Ganyard's Visit To

VZCZCXRO2110
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHLU #0435/01 1571335
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051335Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY LUANDA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4823
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 LUANDA 000435

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EAID MCAP KHDP AO
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR DAS STEPHEN GANYARD'S VISIT TO
ANGOLA

1. (SBU) the Embassy Angola team warmly welcomes your June 14
- 17 visit to Angola. This visit provides an excellent
opportunity to witness firsthand the devastating effects of
landmine and UXO contamination in Angola and explore the ways
in which USG support for humanitarian demining and weapons
destruction is helping to build a peaceful, secure, healthy,
democratic, and economically prosperous Angola.

Overview
--------

2. (SBU) Angola's political and military leadership continues
to be wary of U.S. intentions, especially concerning Africom
and our goals for military engagement with the region in
general and with Angola in particular. Increasingly, Angola
is taking a larger leadership role in regional peace and
security organizations such as the Southern Africa
Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU).

3. (U) Six years after the end in 2002 of a 27-year civil
war, Angola is at a pivotal juncture in its development and
reconstruction. A democratic, stable, healthy and
economically prosperous Angola is vital to both regional
stability and prosperity and US national security interests.
Our principal goal is to promote a more peaceful, secure,
prosperous, democratic, and healthy Angola by strengthening
Angola,s ability to more efficiently use its vast mineral
wealth to improve the well-being of all citizens.

4. (SBU) Perhaps the greatest constraint to improving our
ties with the Angolan government and the military in
particular is our history with Angola. President Dos Santos
has publicly chastised the powers that interfered in colonial
Angola for not helping rebuild the country after decades of
civil war, and he includes the U.S. in that group. Many of
Angola's civilian and military leaders fought against rebels
backed by the U.S. and blame the U.S. for the suffering
inflicted by those rebels on their families. Some Angolans
seek to strengthen ties with the U.S., but many others,
including the still powerful and influential Minister of
Defense, are wary.

Military Cooperation
--------------------

5. (SBU) The force strength of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA)
is estimated at 110,000 to 120,000 soldiers, of which 2/3 are
in the Army and the other 1/3 divided between the Air Force
and Navy. The FAA was created though the combination of MLPA
and UNITA armed forces at the end of the civil war, and due
to field experience and training received throughout the long
war is regarded as one of the better African forces. As
Angola transitions into a post-conflict force structure, GRA
officials are planning to reduce its standing military to
between 50,000 and 90,000 personnel. Angola is the head of
the peace and security councils of both SADC and the African
Union. Angola has welcomed its leadership position on these
multi-lateral councils, and is consulting closely with its
African neighbors on a wide range of regional security
issues, including the conflict in the Democratic Republic of
Congo. These multi-lateral groups are key in forming
regional opinion on U.S. involvement on the continent through
Africom and in shaping regional responses to diplomatic
trouble spots, such as Zimbabwe. Angola has, to date,
declined to participate in regional or international
peacekeeping operations, citing the need to focus its
resources on rebuilding its own war-torn country.

6. (SBU) As Angola increases its efforts to become a
regional player, bilateral engagement with the U.S. and NATO
allies is slowing down (with the exception of Portugal),
while engagement with others, notably Israel and Russia, is
increasing. Despite promis

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