What Hillary Clinton seeks to achieve in Africa
One aim: to bolster relations with resource-rich countries where China has been aggressively extending its presence.
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While in Nairobi, Clinton will meet with the beleaguered president of Somalia's transitional government, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, who is battling an Islamist insurgency. Clinton is expected to announce the allocation of additional aid to the Somali government, including in the form of arms to fight the extremists.Skip to next paragraph
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In outlining Clinton's trip, State Department officials said her objective is to demonstrate how the United States wants to "partner" with African countries – in particular with a rising class of young entrepreneurs, educators, farmers, and civic leaders – to further the goals set by President Obama in his July 11 speech in Accra, Ghana.
One priority in Clinton's stop in South Africa will be to enlist the help of the new president, Jacob Zuma, in pressuring Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, to fully implement a power-sharing plan that made rival Morgan Tsvangirai the country's prime minister.
But Clinton's principal foray into conflict resolution, Professor Englebert of Pomona says, will come in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where war in the eastern portion of the country has resulted in an estimated 2 million deaths. Noting that Clinton will focus on the sexual violence in the war, Englebert says, "The US has not given up on the military solution" to a complex conflict involving armies, militias, remnants of the Rwandan civil war, and the United Nations. "What Clinton wants to pressure for is better behavior among the fighters and hope for terrorized victims of violence," he says.
Mr. Morrison of CSIS calls it "bold" of Clinton to visit "wrecked" eastern Congo and to "put a spotlight on pervasive rape and other forms of violence directed at women and girls." That spotlight, he adds, gives "reality to her claim that gender should occupy a new priority place in US foreign policy."
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