The United States has criticized Mugabe,
who has ruled Zimbabwe for 23 years, for alleged human rights
abuses in his country. President Bush hopes
to encourage South Africa to help pressure Mugabe to retire.
"We are of one mind about the urgent need to address the
challenges of Zimbabwe " President Bush said of Mbeki.
On the President's agenda
President Bush is scheduled to visit five African nations.
He will travel to Botswana and Uganda this week, and will end
his trip on Saturday with a meeting with Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo, a former military ruler now serving his second democratically
elected term in office.
Bush will discuss economic development, AIDS and regional conflicts
with the leaders of the host countries, and will promote 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," Bush said in a speech before he left. "We
will give them to the tools and the resources to win the war on
Terrorists 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
Despite a full agenda of issues President Bush 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.
Also making headlines in the last few weeks, 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.
President Bush has sent an assessment team, comprised of U.S.
military personnel, to Liberia to determine whether the U.S. should
take a peacekeeping role in the country.
At a press conference, held Wednesday in the South African capital
of Pretoria, President Bush told reporters he had discussed the
"(Mbeki) asked whether or not we'd be involved and I said,
'Yes, we'll be involved.' We're now determining the extent of
our involvement," the president said, according to a CNN
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has 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.
On Wednesday, President Bush left South Africa for Botswana --
a largely peaceful country in the midst of a mounting AIDS crisis.
President Bush was originally scheduled to visit several other
countries in Africa earlier this year, but postponed the trip
because of the Iraq War. Secretary of State Colin Powell and National
Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice are traveling with the President.
Kristina Nwazota, Online NewsHour