Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns wrapped up his week-long visit to Africa today in Ethiopia. As head of the U.S. delegation to the African Union Summit, he met yesterday and today with a number of leaders in Addis Ababa, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, South Sudanese President Kiir, Sudanese Foreign Minister Karti, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles, Libyan Prime Minister al-Keeb, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang, and Kenyan Foreign Minister Wetangula. Over the weekend, the Deputy Secretary was in Uganda, where he met with Ugandan President Museveni and visited a public-private partnership at Wagagai, one of more than a hundred clinics that the United States supports in Uganda to provide preventive care and comprehensive maternal and child health services. He also traveled on January 28 to South Sudan, where he met with a number of senior officials including Vice President Machar.
Throughout his meetings at the African Union, as well as in Ghana, Uganda, and South Sudan, the Deputy Secretary highlighted our ongoing commitment to work with African partners to support gains in democratic governance, sustainable development, economic growth, and the peaceful resolution of conflict. His discussions also covered a range of security, political, and humanitarian challenges facing the continent. The Deputy Secretary expressed deep concern regarding the Government of Sudan’s continued denial of humanitarian access to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and also underscored the need for Sudan and South Sudan to quickly reach agreement on oil and related financial issues. Various leaders he met with expressed concern about the growing threat posed to Nigeria and the region by Boko Haram. The Deputy Secretary stressed that the United States will continue to support the Government of Nigeria on this and other challenges facing the country. On Somalia, the Deputy Secretary noted U.S. support for the work of the African Union Mission in Somalia and the need for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to make steady and sustained progress on the Roadmap in advance of the end of the TFG’s mandate in August. The Deputy Secretary highlighted ongoing U.S. collaboration and partnership with the African Union on a broad range of issues, and assured leaders of the U.S. commitment to continue to assist the African Union in augmenting its capacity to address the many opportunities and challenges facing the continent.
In Ghana, Uganda, and Ethiopia, the Deputy Secretary took the time to engage with a cross section of young leaders, entrepreneurs, and civil society activists engaged in every sector of society. The Deputy Secretary’s visit, coming on the heels of the Secretary’s visit to West Africa last week, reaffirms the high priority that the Obama Administration attaches to Africa, and the special emphasis the United States has placed on engaging the continent’s next generation of leaders.