Department of State: Joint Statement on the First U.S.-A.U. High-Level Bilateral Meetings

The United States and the nations of the African Union share deep ties, both historical and modern, and have concluded first-ever high-level talks to discuss mutual interests and strategic partnership, the U.S. Department of State said in a statement April 22, 2010.

"This first round of talks covered the full range of U.S.-Africa priorities," the statement said. These priorities include: "promoting civilian democratic institutions; creating opportunity for the African people; improving health conditions on the continent; enabling the African continent to feed itself; strengthening peace and security, and mitigating conflict; enhancing African peacekeeping capabilities; and addressing complex transnational issues like climate change, narcotics, and terrorism."

The African Union, headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has 53 member nations.

Following is a full text of the statement:

Office of the Spokesman Washington, DC April 22, 2010 The following is a joint statement by the United States and the African Union.

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The United States and the African Union have just concluded historic talks on April 21 and 22 in Washington that marked the first full-scale bilateral discussions between the 53-member African Union and the United States of America. We anticipate that these discussions will take place on an annual basis, rotating between Washington, D.C. and the African Union's headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The U.S.-AU relationship is one defined by the bonds which unite our citizens. More than a billion strong, the African and American peoples recognize the deep historical and modern ties which link our two continents. It is based on this shared history that we met together to discuss strengthening our mutual interests and promoting our common values in a new strategic partnership.

The United States supports the AU's critical role in promoting democracy and good governance throughout Africa, and the principled stands it has taken against unconstitutional changes in government in Mauritania, Guinea, Niger, and Madagascar. The U.S. also applauds the AU's courageous peacekeeping work in Somalia, which remains one of the most fragile states in Africa.

The African Union Commission welcomes the new U.S. approach of engagement with the rest of the world and appreciates its major contributions to Africa’s developments efforts.

This first round of talks covered the full range of U.S.-Africa priorities, including promoting civilian democratic institutions; creating opportunity for the African people; improving health conditions on the continent; enabling the African continent to feed itself; strengthening peace and security, and mitigating conflict; enhancing African peacekeeping capabilities; and addressing complex transnational issues like climate change, narcotics, and terrorism.

The African Union delegation, led by AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping met with a range of senior Obama administration officials during their visit, including Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Deputy Secretary of State Jacob Lew, Under Secretary of State Robert Hormats, and Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson.

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