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It was May 1997
and the lawmakers boarded a small plane to the African bush to plead
with Jonas Savimbi, leader of the rebel group UNITA, about ordering his
forces to put down their arms and end the Angolan civil war. Nearly 16
years later, the two are together again, collaborating as the new
chairmen of the respective Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign
Affairs committees.

They will lead a new group of foreign policy
figures certain to challenge President Barack Obama on a growing list of
issues: the civil war in Syria, the tenuous U.S. relationship with
Pakistan, al-Qaida linked groups in Africa and the threat from Iran’s
nuclear development program.

Menendez, then a House member, and
Royce had been heading a congressional delegation to Angola, trying to
persuade Savimbi to take part in elections and join the government. The
effort failed, and they soon discovered that Angolan President Jose
Eduardo dos Santos had a unique way of showing his displeasure with the
congressional mission.

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