Friday, February 4, 2011

President Obiang Discusses African Issues, Meets With Members Of Congress

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo held meetings with members of the House and Senate on Thursday, the second day of his unofficial visit to Washington.

After the close of the annual National Prayer Breakfast, President Obiang met with Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.). Rep. Aderholt maintains a keen interest in Africa for several years. He has visited several countries on the continent and met with many African leaders in his efforts to learn about the continent and African culture.

Rep. Aderholt is a member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), commonly known as the Helsinki Commission, which is the Congress’s principal human-rights watchdog, and is deeply concerned about issues of human rights and religious liberty.

President Obiang held an afternoon meeting with Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), one of the most ardent promoters of Africa in the United States Congress.

Sen. Inhofe, who is known for saying, “…I have a heart for Africa,” has made more than 100 country visits to Africa and has encouraged his fellow members of Congress to travel to Africa and learn about the continent.

“I’m trying to recruit people to have an interest in Africa,” Inhofe said. “I’m trying to get members of the House and Senate to understand how valuable Africa is.”

In the evening, President Obiang attended a special dinner for African leaders hosted by Sen. Inhofe at the Capitol.

Mr. Obiang’s visit to Washington follows his election as chairman of the African Union (AU) at the organization’s summit, which was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 30-31. In his acceptance speech, he urged African governments to make greater efforts to resolve the continent’s problems.

“The crisis of the values of the African culture is reducing the unity and solidarity among our people. Africa must focus on the dialogue for a peaceful negotiated solution to the conflicts that ravage our towns,” he said. “Africa must assume, more than ever, a leading role not just on the continent but in the international arena.”