Clinton starts Africa swing in Senegal

2012-08-01 07:50

Dakar - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Senegal's capital Dakar late on Tuesday at the start of a seven-nation, 11-day trip to Africa due to focus on regional peace and security.

The top diplomat, whose tour will take her to the world's newest nation, South Sudan, as well as Ebola-hit Uganda, was expected to meet Senegalese President Macky Sall on Wednesday.

Sall's coalition won a landslide majority in legislative polls recently, securing 119 of 150 seats in the national assembly.

"Our desire is to applaud the election of president Sall," a US official said. "Senegal has been our strongest and most reliable partner in francophone Africa".

The US foreign affairs chief was also expected to make a speech at Dakar's Cheikh Anta Diop University.

Clinton will "deliver a speech applauding the resilience of Senegal's democratic institutions and highlighting America's approach to partnership," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

Clinton is then expected to head on to South Sudan, followed by stops in Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Ghana.

Clinton was originally only expected to visit six nations but will now also stop in Ghana to attend the 10 August state funeral of president John Atta Milla who died on 24 July, according to a US official.

Security and democracy

In June, US President Barack Obama had laid out his strategy for African development with the aim of consolidating security and democracy and stimulating growth on a continent faced with threats from al-Qaeda and a Chinese economic offensive.

"We want to underscore the US importance for strong, open, accountable and democratic institutions," the US official said. "We want to expand opportunities for US trade and development. Our desire is to encourage better growth and investment."

A likely highlight of the trip will be a meeting with 94-year-old former South African president and democracy icon, Nelson Mandela.

Clinton's trip comes only two weeks after a tour to Europe, Asia and the Middle East, during which she visited Laos and Mongolia, bringing her tally for nations visited as secretary of state to a record-breaking 102.

Her trip to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, will expand that list even further.

South Sudan broke away from Sudan in July last year but the two have yet to set a definitive border and are in dispute over oil revenues and citizenship rules.

The United States is leading international calls to the two neighbors to step up efforts to reach a peace deal this week or face possible United Nations sanctions.

The UN Security Council has given the two states, who this year came close to all-out war, until Thursday to make a peace deal.

Progress in negotiations

While in South Sudan, Clinton will meet President Salva Kiir "to reaffirm US support and to encourage progress in negotiations with Sudan to reach agreement on issues related to security, oil and citizenship," Nuland said.

Before returning to the United States on 10 August, Clinton will also stop in Uganda, undeterred by reports that the deadly Ebola virus has reached the capital Kampala.

Fourteen people have died since Ebola broke out in western Uganda three weeks ago.

In Kenya, Clinton will hold talks with top officials, and, "to underscore US support for completing the political transition in Somalia by 20 August," will also meet Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, according to Nuland.

After visiting Malawi, Clinton will head to South Africa accompanied by an American business delegation.

  • fanie.viljoen.73 - 2012-08-01 08:27

    The only reason Clinton is in Senegal is for oil, what about Zimbabwe? On what peace do you want to work Hillarya, your peace of Africa's cake?

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-01 08:57

      For all its faults you might find with the USA, the fact is is this country has been absolutlely awesome to Africa, just to mention, investments, job creation and aid. Totally mindboggling !! And re Zimbabwe, Not much point, for any leader to visit this country, untill that mugabe tyrant has dropped dead !!!

      devon.riley.52 - 2012-08-01 09:19

      Now that is a dumb statement. If the US was that hard up for oil all they need to do is cut the million upon millions of dollars in aid to Africa and use that money to buy oil on the open market.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-01 18:20

    The US has had its chance in Africa and spurned it, and now its influence is gone forever. There is a new power making deals in the continent at far more favorable terms to Africa than the neo colonialist. The US should keep as far away from Africa as possible. They only bring death and destruction.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-01 20:30

      More childish garbage from Fidel, Show just ONE JOB, either Russia or China have created in Africa! Show just ONE ROEBEL investment the Russians have madse in Africa! Show just ONE INVESTMENT the Chinese have made in Africa, that is also beneficial to this continent! Show just ONE MEAL the Chinese or Russians have fed a hungry child ! Show just ONE MEDICINE the Russians or Chinese have supplied to a sick African! Both countries are totally useless to Africa. Those racist Russians HATE Africa and its African population ! China only knows to plunder Africa's resources

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-02 14:38

      Again, Russia doesn't owe Africa anything other than its friendship and camaraderie. Russia hasn't raped Africa like your masters from the west. Re China, study "FOCAC" and do your own research, am under no obligation to educate you on the issue. Or you could just remain willfully ignorant.

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