The United States and the African Union (AU) met on April 20 and 21, 2011, in Washington for the second annual U.S.-AU High Level Meeting. Talks centered on how the United States and AU can cooperate to address issues of mutual interest and promote common values in the context of our strategic partnership.
This second annual round of talks covered the full range of U.S.-Africa priorities, including promoting civilian democratic institutions; creating economic, social, and political opportunities for the African people; improving health conditions on the continent; enabling Africa to feed itself; strengthening peace and security efforts and mitigating conflict; enhancing African peacekeeping capabilities; and addressing complex transnational issues such as terrorism and trafficking in drugs and human beings.
On the situation in Libya, the United States acknowledged AU efforts to achieve a ceasefire, but reiterated the need for greater coordination with the international community. The United States noted that a ceasefire requires an immediate end to all attacks on civilians and the withdrawal of Qadhafi’s forces from all cities they have forcibly entered, occupied, or besieged. Qadhafi and his regime also should comply with their obligations under international law, international humanitarian law, human rights and refugee law including protecting civilians and meeting their basic needs. Any ceasefire should pave the way to an inclusive political process in Libya, an essential element of which is that Qadhafi must leave power and Libya.
On its part, the AU highlighted the key components of its road map for peace in Libya including: i) immediate cessation of hostilities, ii) the diligent delivery of humanitarian assistance to the needy populations, iii) the protection of foreign nationals, including African migrant workers, and iv) inclusive dialogue and a transitional period leading to political reforms. The AU stressed that the determination of the participants in the process as well as the issue of political leadership is one that only the Libyans themselves can resolve. Furthermore, it noted this process must be guided by the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people for democracy, justice, rule of law, peace and security, as well as socio-economic development.
The U.S.-AU talks provided an opportunity for the United States to reiterate its support for the critical leadership role the AU plays in promoting democracy and good governance throughout the continent. The two parties recognize that the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan would not be possible without the engagement and support of the AU, the U.S., and the rest of the international community.
The United States applauds the AU’s role in restoring democracy in Guinea and Niger and thanks the organization for its strong united position in support of legitimately-elected President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire. The United States also commends the AU’s courageous peacekeeping work in Somalia, which remains one of the most fragile states in Africa and the world.
On its part, the AU delegation commends the U.S. government for its support for AU programs and activities, particularly in the area of peace and security and the improvement of the quality of lives in Africa. The AU also appreciates the support the United States provides in sustaining the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and in helping to restore democracy in Guinea and Niger, and requests continued support as the two countries strive to consolidate democracy and return to development
The AU delegation, led by AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping, met with a range of senior Obama Administration officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, Under Secretary of State William Burns, Under Secretary of State Judith McHale, Under Secretary of State Robert Hormats, Special Envoy on Sudan Princeton N. Lyman, and Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson. Both the U.S. and the AU look forward to continued engagement on the range of critical issues of interest to both parties as they strive to foster a stable and strong global community.