For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 27, 2002
President Meets with African Leaders
Statement by the President
Today I met with three presidents who can help bring peace and prosperity to southern Africa. Presidents dos Santos of Angola, Chissano of Mozambique, and Mogae of Botswana and I discussed our common interests in working with each other, and through the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to bring greater peace, prosperity, and stability to the region.
I reiterated that expanding trade is the surest path to sustainable development. I commended the three presidents leadership in developing a regional strategy to combat HIV/AIDS, and promote economic integration. As part of that effort, I asked the presidents to join my call for the World Bank to begin providing 50 percent of its assistance to the worlds poorest nations in the form of grants rather than loans.
The three presidents also discussed the tragic wars in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We agreed that peace is within reach of both countries. I urged President dos Santos to move quickly toward achieving a cease-fire in Angola. And we agreed that all parties have an obligation to seize this moment to end the war, and develop Angolas vast wealth to the benefit of the Angolan people. President dos Santos has it within his power to end 26 years of fighting by reaching out to all Angolans willing to lay down their arms. Angolans deserve no less.
Finally, I commend the work of former President Masire, President Mbeki, and other SADC leaders -- including Presidents dos Santos, Chissano and Mogae -- on the Inter-Congolese Dialogue in South Africa. I remain committed to working with the leaders of southern Africa to achieve lasting peace and stability in the region.