About the Author: Lauren M. Ladenson serves as Political Officer at the U.S. Mission to the African Union.
A delegation of high-level officials, led by Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg, attended the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on January 30 and 31. The delegation included Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Johnnie Carson and Ambassador Mary Yates, the newly-appointed Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council. U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration, USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa Larry Garber, and U.S. Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo William J. Garvelink, Feed the Future Deputy Coordinator for Development, rounded out the delegation.
At the Summit, the U.S. delegation discussed a range of salient issues with African leaders. Delegation members held meetings with Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Gabonese President Ali Bongo, Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
The Summit also provided the delegation the chance to meet with counterparts from China and France, and for Deputy Secretary Steinberg to talk with Tunisian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Radhouane Nouicer about recent events in Tunisia. In addition, the U.S. delegation held meetings with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Haile Menkerios. Delegation members were particularly pleased to meet with the Chairperson of the African Union, former Gabonese Foreign Minister Jean Ping.