According to American public officials, the visit of Mrs. Clinton was due to Washington’s growing interest in the states in the region, one of the last on the continent to freeing itself from dictatorships and military coups, and aims to support “the resurgent democracy in West Africa.” They say another important reason for the Secretary of State’s visit to be the US intention to strengthen position in the region in light of China’s growing influence in Africa, to further strengthen ties with the states on security issues in connection with intensifying actions of the Islamist groups and drug smuggling network extension.
Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Christopher Coons, accompanying Clinton on a trip to Africa, noted that United States concedes the strategic initiative on the continent to China, which “takes advantage of our absence to promote their economic and political interests on the continent.”
The first items of Hillary Clinton’s trip were Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, where she congratulated the leaders of these countries for their efforts to consolidate efforts in the strengthening of democratic processes. In the capital of Liberia, she attended the inauguration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf reelected for a second term, and opened a new complex of the US diplomatic representation.
In Cote d’Ivoire, a country-leader of the world cacao production, she voiced support to the new Head of State, Alassane Ouattara, who was compelled to use force to remove from power Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to concede defeat in the presidential election in November 2010. The USA supported Ouattara in the struggle for power during the political crisis.
Ivorians believe that the visit of the US Secretary of State, the first in 25 years, will lead to significant financial investment in the economy. “We expect from this visit that the Americans will come to Cote d’Ivoire with new contracts - they say – on agriculture, mining and oil sectors of the economy.”
Hillary Clinton was the first US Secretary of State to pay an official visit to Togo, where she held talks with President Faure Gnassingbe, who took the reins of government in this small West African State in 2005 after the death of his father. Under Gnassingbe Eyadema the country was almost isolated. Now Togo seeks to play a greater role in the African Union, Economic Community of West African States.
The main purpose of Hillary Clinton’s visit to Togo was an ambition to enlist the support of US initiatives in the UN Security Council, of which non-permanent member for this year this African country was elected. In particular, Washington is interested that Lome supports in the UN Security Council the American actions against the authorities of Syria, where the opposition actions and tough measures against Iran and its nuclear program do not stop. Faure Gnassingbe said he was not satisfied with the situation in Syria, and stands for direct Israeli-Palestinian talks. Earlier Togo abstained from voting in UNESCO, where Palestine’s application for membership in this organization as a full member was considered.
In Togo and in Cote d’Ivoire an issue was discussed concerning the regional stability, especially in light of intensifying actions of the Islamic fundamentalists in Northern Nigeria seeking to introduce the Shariat in the country and to eradicate Western secular model of education. In Cape Verde, security issues were considered in light of the fight against drug trafficking. This small island state has recently become one of the transshipment points of drug smuggling from Latin America to Europe and other countries of the world.
Hillary Clinton visits the continent not for the first time invariably assigning a mission to enlist the African states’ support of some or other US initiative. In June 2011, at the height of civil war in Libya, she specially arrived at the headquarters of the African Union, located in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa to urge Africans to break off relations with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and support the opposition.
Commenting on the last trip to Africa of the US Secretary of State, the western press notes that Washington wants to have on the continent the states and governors who are “oriented toward the West, strongly support the democratic institutions, are committed to the course of economic development approved by it (the USA).” As was emphasized by the Voice of America, it is with such “countries, which, according to the Obama administration, execute the true governance that the USA is going to strengthen further relationships.” It is meant that the notion of “true” is defined just by the American arbiter.