Friday, February 15, 2008

Kenya side trip

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who left for Africa today on a 6-day trip with President Bush, plans to leave the president on Monday to travel to Kenya to help mediator Kofi Annan resolve the post-election crisis that has torn apart the East African country. In a speech yesterday at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art, Bush said he was sending Rice to Kenya to tell leaders to find a way to stop the violence and resolve the election dispute, according to the Los Angeles Times. Rice plans to meet with Annan, the former U.N. leader, and with President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga. Odinga claims Kibaki stole the presidential election on Dec. 27, setting off weeks of protests and violence along tribal lines that has undermined the foundation of the 46-year-old democracy. More than 1,000 people have been killed and 300,000 forced from their homes. Kenya had been one of Africa's most stable countries since winning independence from Britain in 1963. Bush's Africa trip, his second since becoming president in 2001, will take him to Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia. His speech yesterday at the Smithsonian highlighted the success of his $18 million emergency program for AIDS relief. Bush said that when he visited Africa five years ago, 50,000 people were receiving medicine to treat HIV/AIDS, but now, more than 1.3 million people are being treated. "Some call this a remarkable success, I call it a good start," he said.

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