, LUANDA, Aug 10 – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pressed Angola’s long-time ruler President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos to hold credible elections and act on past human rights abuses.
Pledging closer ties with the oil-rich state, Clinton said last year’s "peaceful and credible" legislative elections, the first in 16 years, were encouraging.
"We look forward to Angola building on this positive step by including adoption of a new constitution, investigating and prosecuting past human rights abuses and holding a timely free and fair presidential election," she said.
Dos Santos, who Clinton is due to meet on Monday on her 11-day, seven-nation African tour, is one of the continent’s longest serving leaders and marks 30 years in power next month.
A long-awaited presidential election, initially expected this year, is likely to take place in 2010, with last year’s legislative polls the first since an aborted attempt in 1992 during a lull in the civil war.
Clinton is in Angola to strengthen ties with the emerging economy which has shown massive growth since the end of a devastating 27-year civil war in 2002, and now rivals Nigeria as Africa’s top oil producer.
Washington is looking for "a very positive, productive relationship between our two countries", the US top diplomat told a media briefing alongside Angolan Foreign Minister Assuncao dos Anjos.
The secretary of state’s overnight trip includes a meeting with oil industry executives and oil minister Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos, currently president of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Clinton leaves for the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday.