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Welcome to "Ask the White House" -- an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Administration Officials and friends of the White House. Visit the "Ask the White House" archives to read other discussions with White House officials.

Ambassador Jendayi Frazer
Senior Director for African Affairs, National Security Council
October 8, 2003

Dr. Jendayi Frazer
Hello again, it is good to be back on Ask the White House. As you know the President hosted President Kibaki for a State Dinner on Monday recognizing the importance of this leadership in Kenya and for the African continent. This is fourth State Visit for this Administration which signals the special and close relationship between the US and Kenya. I look forward to our conversation this afternoon.

Gayle, from Queensbury writes:
Hello What is the U.S. view on the question of IMF support to Kenya. Many believe IMF support is critical for Kenya's economic recovery. Thanks for appearing today.

Dr. Jendayi Frazer
Thank you Gayle. President Kibaki raised the issue of US support for Kenya at the IMF and the World Bank. I agree with you that IMF support is critical for Kenya's recovery. President Kibaki is developing a very good track record and the US strongly supports the reengagement of international institutions into Kenya. As President Kibaki pushes for the necessary reforms, the US will certainly support Kenya at the IMF.

Sammy, from Massachusetts writes:
What, in your opinion, were the two biggest accomplishments emanating from the State Visit for the US and also for Kenya?

Dr. Jendayi Frazer
Sammy, first and foremost, it was an opportunity for President Bush to meet with President Kibaki. This was their first meeting. President Bush believes that there are many African leaders who are capable of addressing the challenges and seizing the opportunities present in Africa. He wanted to continue his engagement from his Africa trip in July on the important issues of AIDS, trade, conflict resolution. This State Visit demonstrates the President's commitment to a strong Africa policy. President Kibaki affirmed that Kenya will remain a strong strategic ally for the US in the fight against terror. He also expressed his strong commitment to be a catalyst for positive change in the region and on the continent.

Mike, from District of Columbia writes:
Some citizens in Kenya believe that although there is a democratically elected leader, government has returned to the ways of the past and the "Mount Kenya Mafia" is in control. I'm assuming the U.S. government disagrees with this sentiment or the State Visit wouldn't have occurred, correct? How do we base our support to this country and others?

Dr. Jendayi Frazer
Mike, thank you for your question. Indeed, Kenya's new president won a landslide victory last December. This free and fair election is a model for all of Africa. It is important for the US to continue supporting the trends toward democracy. President Bush has stated that democracy is always a work-in-progress for greater free and open society.

The State Visit with President Kibaki recognizes his landslide election and his important leadership rooting out corruption in Kenya. We will continue to work with him to achieve a greater open society and on his social and economic agenda.

Michael, from Fairfax, VA writes:
Given the Administration's commitment to Africa, and recent visit by the Kenyan delegation, why does our current US policy prohibit relations with Zimbabwe? While it is under the rule of an unlegitimate leader, according to Mr. Bush, doesn't it warrant our attention for the benefit of Zimbabweans?

Dr. Jendayi Frazer
Michael, as your question indicates, relations between the US and Zimbabwe continue are not on the best footing currently. President Bush is committed to working to see a return to democracy in Zimbabwe. Our current policy does not prohibit relations with the good people of Zimbabwe but rather we have targeted travel and financial sanctions on Zimbabwean officials who have thwarted the democratic efforts of Zimbabwean citizens. Certainly Zimbabwe warrants our attention and President Bush continues to see it as a key area for engaging Africa's regional leaders to place the necessary pressure to hold Zimbabwean officials accountable for the flawed and fraudulent election.

Karanja, from Arlington, Texas writes:
Of what strategic interest is Kenya to the USA? Secondly In what tangible ways has Kenya and the US benefited from President Kibaki's visit?

Dr. Jendayi Frazer
Karanja, in President Bush's national security strategy, Kenya is designated as one of the four strategic countries for US engagement in Africa. Kenya has been a close ally of the US since its independence in 1963. As you know, Kenya has the largest economy in East Africa. Our trade relation is over $400 million annually and we look forward to expanding the trade through the Africa Growth and Opportunity Initiative. Presidents Bush and Kibaki discussed other tangible areas for cooperation and mutual assistance in development for example, as Kenya fights corruption and reforms its economy. It should become eligible for the $5 billion President Millennium Challenge Account Initiative and also the President said in his press conference Kenya is assisting the US in the war on terror.

Anthony, from Kenya writes:
Hi, From Pres. Bushes speech, he appeared to be really informed on kenya and other World matters. Did Pres. Kibaki come through as equally informed and competent in World affairs? Will Pres. Bush make a state visit to Kenya in future? Was there an invitation?


Dr. Jendayi Frazer
Anthony, thank you for your question. President Kibaki and President Bush had very in-depth conversations about world affairs. They discussed Kenya's democratic election, the importance of its reform agenda, and their continued cooperation on regional security and partnership in the war against global terror. President Kibaki was able to provide President Bush with detailed analysis of events in the neighborhood, particularly Sudan and Somalia, where President Kibaki is playing a leadership role. President Kibaki has invited President Bush to Kenya and we certainly hope to take him up on the offer sometime in the future.

Philip, from Kenya writes:
Why Should President Bush encourage Investors to Kenya and the same time not lift Travel Advisories. It really hurt us Alot. We depend on Tourism alot. It does Employee so many people.

Dr. Jendayi Frazer
Philip, thank you for your important question. Presidents Bush and Kibaki had a good discussion about the impact of travel advisories on Kenya's economy. President Bush recognizes that we need to work closely together so that the security concerns that have led to the advisories can be lifted. President Bush also recognizes that the good people of Kenya, particularly those employed in the tourism industry are anxious for Americans to travel to your wonderful country. Our two Presidents are working on a strategy to increase Kenya's capacity to deal with the terrorist threat which we saw hit Mombasa last November and the Embassy bombing of 1998. The President has a new $100 million East Africa counterterrorism initiative which will play a large role to help address the travel warning and Kenya's capacity to fight terror. The President is responsible to the American public to provide such warnings based on an assessment of the security environment.

Ruth, from Baltimore writes:
What will the United States do to help Kenya fight HIVAIDS?

Dr. Jendayi Frazer
Ruth, thank you for your question. The fight against HIV AIDS is critical for Kenya and the continent and Africa. Kenya will benefit from President Bush's new emergency plan for AIDS relief Initiative. The initiative provides $15 billion to 14 target countries of which Kenya is one. We will work with Kenya to prevent the spread of AIDS to care for AIDS orphans, and in particularly under this initiative to provide treatment to those victims of HIV AIDS. Currently we have programs through USAID and CDC offices throughout Kenya and Randall Tobias was just confirmed as the President's new AIDS coordinator to help Kenya fight HIV AIDS. The President has been a world leader in HIV AIDS including the United States providing 40 percent of the funding to the global fund on HIV AIDS. President Bush has urged other leaders to also play an active role fighting this deadly disease.

stephanie, from rockford,illinois writes:
Welcome Back Dr.Frazer! you have been on ask the whitehouse before haven't you?

my question is do you work for the united states government or the african government?

were u a guest at the state dinner last night? if so, who did you sit by?

Dr. Jendayi Frazer
Stephanie thank you for your question. I do work for the US Government in particular I'm the Senior Director for Africa on the National Security Council. My job is to coordinate the President's foreign policy toward sub-saharan Africa. I was very fortunate to attend the State Dinner and bring my mother as my guest. I also had the good fortune to sit with Congressman Edward Royce, Chairman of the Africa subcommittee in the House of Representatives. And to sit with Mr. Marc Pachter, Director of the National Portrait Gallery a Smithsonian Institution. It was a delightful evening and wonderful conversation with all 130 guests at the State Dinner.

Dr. Jendayi Frazer
Thank you all for these great questions. I wish we had more time. The State Visit was truly remarkable from the opening arrival ceremony through the entertainment with the Alvin Ailey dancers at the dinner. It was an opportunity to deepen the bilaterial relationship between the US and Africa, to strengthen the personal relationship between the Kenyan and the US delegation, and to symbolize the long friendship between the American and Kenyan people. Many Americans have been to Kenya. I myself first traveled to Kenya as a student in 1981. We were all very proud to recognize the special relationship with Kenya as an important friend and ally in Africa, and leader of the East African region. This was the first State Visit for an African nation representing President Bush's strong commitment to Kenya and the continent of Africa. President Bush has met with over two dozen African leaders in his first 2 1/2 years of being President. I look forward to speaking to you again.

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