In his first official trip to the
African continent, President George Bush will travel to five nations
starting Monday to promote economic development and
a new plan for fighting terrorism in African countries.
The $100 million counter-terror initiative will focus on security
in Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Djibouti and will provide
funding for strengthening air and port security, and tightening
"Many African governments have the will to fight the war
on terror... we will give them to the tools and the resources
to win the war on terror," President Bush told an audience
at a U.S.-Africa Business Summit last week.
have sought refuge in some African countries, made vulnerable
by economic troubles and political unrest. The continent has also
seen a series of deadly terrorist attacks against U.S. and Israeli
targets that have killed hundreds of Africans.
In 1998, terrorists simultaneously bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya
and Tanzania, killing 224 people. Last year, terrorists bombed
an Israeli-owned hotel in Nairobi. The attack resulted in the
deaths of sixteen people.
Pressure to intervene in regional conflicts
The president's trip will take him to Uganda, Nigeria,
South Africa, Senegal and Botswana. He will meet with leaders
of those countries to discuss security, economic development,
AIDS and regional conflicts.
Despite a full agenda of issues he hopes to address, two ongoing
and bloody wars threaten to overshadow most other concerns. One
such conflict is the five-year-old war in Congo that has left
3.3 million people dead.
making headlines in U.S. papers recently is the situation in Liberia,
a West African nation formed in 1847 by freed American slaves,
where escalating violence has ended a short-lived cease-fire in
the country's 14-year civil war.
While President Bush has expressed interest in exploring ways
to stop fighting in Congo and Liberia, he has yet to agree to
commit peacekeeping troops to either country.
During his visit, the president will likely face calls for U.S.
This week, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan asked the U.S. to
join France, Pakistan, Nigeria and several other nations in sending
peacekeeping forces to the Congolese town of Bunia. Annan, joined
by British and French officials, has also called on the U.S. to
lead a peacekeeping mission to Liberia to re-establish the cease-fire.
Stops along the way
The president's trip will begin in Senegal's Goree
Islands, a former slave-trading outpost visited by President Bill
Clinton five years ago. The outpost housed Africans before they
were brought to the U.S. during slavery. President Bush will then
travel to Botswana -- a largely peaceful country in the midst
of a mounting AIDS crisis, Uganda, South Africa and Nigeria.
In Nigeria, President Bush will meet with recently re-elected
President Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military ruler now serving
his second democratically elected term in office.
Mr. Bush will also talk with South African President Thabo Mbeki.
It remains unclear whether he will sit down with Nobel Peace Prize
former South African leader Nelson Mandela. Mandela, known for
his successful fight against apartheid, an oppressive set of laws
imposed by a minority white government in the 1980s on the majority
black South African population, publicly opposed the U.S.-led
war in Iraq.
President Bush was originally scheduled to visit several other
countries in Africa earlier this year, but postponed the trip
because of the Iraq War. He leaves for Africa on Monday.
Kristina Nwazota, Online NewsHour