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Bush to bring 'American compassion' to Africa

 
Anonymous Coward
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02/15/2008 10:23 PM
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Bush to bring 'American compassion' to Africa
Bush to bring 'American compassion' to Africa

Feb 15 09:30 PM US/Eastern


President George W. Bush set off Friday on a five-nation tour of Africa, touting American compassion for the poor on a continent where he already basks in high approval ratings.
Bush aims to use the week-long Africa voyage, likely his last as US president, to bolster his legacy and highlight US efforts to resolve regional disputes, promote democratic reform and help eradicate HIV/AIDS and malaria.

However, even before Bush arrived his bid was met by protests in Tanzania and Rwanda, and critics pointed out that the tour -- which also includes Benin, Ghana and Liberia -- neatly avoids regional hotspots such as Sudan and Kenya.

US oil and military interests were also expected to figure in the visit, amid Washington's projections that one-quarter of its oil imports will come from Africa by 2015 and US insistence on selling the idea of a US military high command for Africa (AFRICOM), currently based in Germany.

While Bush expressed backing for former UN secretary general Kofi Annan's efforts to resolve Kenya's political crisis, which has seen 1,000 people killed since December, the president announced he would dispatch Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to support Annan's mediation.

In Nairobi, Annan said a deal was "very close" and voiced hope that the "last difficult and frightening step" would be taken next week.

Rice was due to arrive Monday. Annan said he planned to sit down with rival leaders on Tuesday to hammer out an agreement on a coalition government, which he called "the only outstanding issue."

Bush's official agenda includes talks on US-backed efforts to battle malaria, meetings on anti-AIDS efforts, a stop to pay respects to the hundreds of thousands of people killed in Rwanda's 1994 genocide and a visit with US-trained peacekeepers.

"The US image is much stronger in Africa than in other regions of the world," said a report last year by the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

Bush's popularity spike in Africa is largely attributable to the increase in funding the continent has seen since he took office in 2001, when US humanitarian and development aid to Africa totaled 1.4 billion dollars, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Five years later, that amount had quadrupled to 5.6 billion dollars.

Bush said Friday his message was "that the American people are a compassionate people, a decent people, who want to help moms with -- deal with malaria, and families deal with HIV/AIDS, and the need to feed the hungry."

Gayle Smith, an Africa expert at the Center for American Progress, a liberal Washington think tank, said the trip is "designed to show the compassionate side of America."

But not all were eager to see the widely unpopular president arrive. Hundreds of Tanzanian Muslims demonstrated in the streets of Dar Es Salaam Friday to protest Bush and First Lady Laura's visit there, planned for Saturday.

"Bush is a cruel leader. It is sad that Tanzania has allowed his visit," said Juma Ramadhani, one of the demonstrators, as others carried placards with anti-Bush slogans and burned US flags.

Rwanda's exiled Hutu rebels charged that Bush's upcoming stop in the country was tantamount to granting impunity to its "bloodthirsty" president. Bush is expected in Kigali on Tuesday and is scheduled to meet Rwandan President Paul Kagame, a Tutsi who has been head of state since 2000.

Speaking at the African Museum of Art in Washington on Thursday, Bush vowed to support peace efforts in Kenya and maintain tough sanctions against those who perpetuate violence in Darfur.

Bush also lamented the lack of progress in Darfur amid efforts to get a joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force there up to full strength.

"I must confess I am a little frustrated by how slow things are moving," said Bush, who reiterated his stance that the killing there amounts to genocide.

Asked during an interview with the BBC whether he feared Darfur could become his Rwanda -- referring to statements made by former president Bill Clinton who has said he is sometimes kept awake at night over fears he did not do enough to stop the killing there -- Bush said: "I don't think so. I certainly hope not."

He said he had decided not to commit US troops to Darfur after hearing the opinions of the American people.

"It's a decision that I'm now living with," he said.









lol !!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 374510
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02/15/2008 10:24 PM
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Re: Bush to bring 'American compassion' to Africa
He's so nice, isn't he?
Normal Is Subjective

User ID: 374332
Canada
02/15/2008 11:33 PM
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Re: Bush to bring 'American compassion' to Africa
Hey Africa! Don't sign anything and keep your eye on the silverware!
I thought I'd beat the inevitibility of death to death just a little bit.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 354181
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02/15/2008 11:36 PM
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Re: Bush to bring 'American compassion' to Africa
Please give billions of our extra throw away dollars to Africans.
Anonymous Coward
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02/15/2008 11:43 PM
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Re: Bush to bring 'American compassion' to Africa
Is there someone there that we need to kill?
TexasT

User ID: 340687
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02/16/2008 12:27 AM
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Re: Bush to bring 'American compassion' to Africa
Africa has seen "american compassion."

Assinating the president of the republic of the congo.

backing aparthied.

Africa is better off if we keep our noses out of their business.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 316544
United States
02/16/2008 12:36 AM
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Re: Bush to bring 'American compassion' to Africa
I bet they can hardly wait after the "freedom" we brought Iraqis.
Anonymous Coward
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02/16/2008 12:38 AM
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Re: Bush to bring 'American compassion' to Africa
A sudden five nation tour of Africa? This is a first for Bush, correct?

Is that about as fay away as he can get from the falling satellite that will be floating above the US over the next two weeks?

You know, the one with poison on board that we'll be shooting down with a ballistic missile.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 374769
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02/16/2008 11:11 AM
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Re: Bush to bring 'American compassion' to Africa
Will the rabid no-money-for-Israel people go ballistic about the money burned-up and thrown away to Africa?
I wonder.
No I don't.
MaMa
User ID: 314887
United States
02/16/2008 11:27 AM
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Re: Bush to bring 'American compassion' to Africa
American compassion, my foot! - Africa better watch the fuck out! Bush wants something for his cronies....

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