Bush Pledges U.S. Commitment for Africa

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President Bush pledged on Thursday to make a long-term U.S. commitment toward Africa. He is sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Kenya to demand a halt to the violence that has left more than 1,000 people dead.

"There must be an immediate halt to violence, there must be justice for the victims of abuse and there must be a full return to democracy," Bush said, giving a preview of the message he is sending Rice to deliver directly to Kenya's leaders and people.

Click play to view President Bush's speech

Rice will accompany Bush when he visits Africa, beginning Saturday, with stops in Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia.

Bush said that during his trip, he will direct Rice to go to Kenya and support the work of former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, who is trying to mediate a political solution between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Since a disputed presidential election in December, weeks of violence have killed more than 1,000 Kenyans and forced some 600,000 to flee their homes.

The president made the announcement at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, during a speech previewing his six-day trip to Africa.

A senior State Department official said Rice and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer would travel on Monday to Nairobi where they will meet Kibaki, Odinga and civic leaders.

Source: The Associated Press

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