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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06LUANDA342 2006-04-06 16:46:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Luanda
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR EFIRD MEETS WITH NEW ANGOLAN MINISTER

Tags:   PREL PGOV PHUM PINR PARM AO 
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1. (SBU) New Angolan Interior Minister Ngongo told Ambassador
Efird that he supports human rights and free elections, and
accountability and transparency in police actions. He hopes
to continue close cooperation with the USG in ILEA training
programs, and engage in the newly funded civilian small arms
collection and destruction program. He also provided us with
the results of an investigation into a recent alleged police
abuse, in response to a March letter from Ambassador Efird.
End Summary.



2. (U) Ambassador Efird called on the new Angolan Minister of
the Interior, General Roberto Leal Ramos Monteiro,
Ngongo,, on April 6, 2006. Ambassador Efird was
accompanied by Pol/Econ chief, Minister Ngongo was joined by
an assistant and a translator. Ngongo was sworn in as
Minister of the Interior in March 2006, following the death
of previous Interior Minister van Dunem (reftel A). This was
Minister Ngongo,s first appointment with a foreign
Ambassador in Luanda.

USG: Continued Cooperation on Human Rights and Rule of Law


--------------------------



--------------------------





3. (SBU) Ambassador Efird expressed our condolences on
Minister Van Dunem,s death and welcomed Ngongo's very
positive formal official statements in the press regarding
transparency and justice since taking office. She remarked
on the past cooperation enjoyed by the USG and the Ministry,
detailing the 160 Angolan police trained through the ILEA
programs in Botswana and New Mexico, and our current support
of the civilian disarmament program implemented by the HALO
Trust NGO in conjunction with local police. Ambassador Efird
invited the Minister to accompany her to watch HALO and the
police destroy collected weapons. He appeared enthusiastic
to accompany us on such a visit.



4. (SBU) Ambassador Efird also spoke of US interest in
Angola,s support for human rights, citing the recent release
of the Human Rights Report. She discussed the importance of
political tolerance in conjunction with the upcoming voter
registration process, and hoped that the police would be able
to ensure the rights of all citizens participating in the
election process. She also offered technical assistance and
capacity building to focus on these issues.

Angola Committed to Upholding Human Rights


--------------------------





5. (SBU) Minister Ngongo commented that he was committed to
the establishment of democratic process in Angola, but noted
that this is a country which has grown out of violence )
first against the colonial powers and then in civil war. He
lamented the number of generations who have been raised in a
culture of violence. Ngongo commented that, while
achievements have been made, timetables to achieve the end
result of democracy can vary. He said that sometimes
international pressure can spur the GRA to find solutions to
problems more quickly.



6. (SBU) Minister Ngongo also thanked the Ambassador for her
letter raising the recent shooting of a young boy in Luanda
during the evacuation and demolition of a housing project
(reftel B). He noted that he had called for a full
investigation, which determined that the person in possession
of the weapon was not a policeman. This man has since been
imprisoned. He issued an open invitation for Embassy
representatives, NGOs and the press to meet with the man in
jail should we wish. He added that the Ministry had provided
this information to the media. Further, he requested that
the Ambassador continue to inform him of any such events in
the future.



7. (SBU) Ambassador Efird thanked him for this information
and his interest in looking into the incident. With
reference to the Human Rights Report, she suggested that it
would be helpful if the Ministry could make available
statistics to the Embassy to demonstrate that it is solving
open cases and according due process to those suspected of
crimes. She also specifically requested statistics on GRA
efforts in combatting trafficking in persons. The Minister
expressed surprise that this information wasn,t openly
available, asking his aide, What, we don,t publish this?,
He recognized the importance of maintaining transparency in
police actions and in being open with the press.


LUANDA 00000342 002.2 OF 002


Comment and Biographical Information:


--------------------------




8. (SBU) Minister Ngongo was very engaging and made a point
of noting that he chose to receive Ambassador Efird first
among all the Ambassadors in Angola. In this first official
conversation, he certainly said all the right things. His
prompt action in the case of the young boy is very
encouraging and we hope this will be indicative of his tenure
as Minister. End Comment.

Biographical Information:


9. (U) Roberto Leal Ramos Monteiro, best known as General
Ngongo, was born in Luanda in 1945. He joined the MPLA in
1971, enlisting in the FAPLA (MPLA military wing) in 1974,
then became Head of the Artillery Unit (1976-1978), then Head
of Reconnaissance and Information Division (1978-1983).
Between 1983 and 1988, General Ngongo was Deputy Army Chief
of Staff and Head of Military Operations. He was appointed
Head of Defense and Security (1989-1990), Chief of Air Staff
(1991-1992) and later Vice Minister for Defense (1993-1999).
General Ngongo was appointed Ambassador to Russia in 2000,
where he remained until his appointment as Minister of the
Interior in March 2006.



10. (C) Ngongo was born into an old Angolan-Portuguese family
strongly linked to the MPLA and the GRA. Family members
include ex-finance Minister Alcantara Monteiro, Vice Minister
of Justice, Alves Monteiro, and Senior Board Member of the
Central Bank, Laura Monteiro. However, Ngongo's branch of
the family arose from an illegitimate relationship and is not
recognized by the rest of the Monteiro family. Ngongo has a
reputation among Luanda's elite as hasty in making decisions
and having a tendency to drink heavily. He has an expansive
and enthusiastic personality. He also showed a great
interest in culture and history, especially in the context of
his years in Russia. While Ngongo conducted the meeting in
Portuguese, he appeared to have a firm command of English
comprehension and conversational English.
EFIRD