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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 5, 2008

Statement by the President

I congratulate President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania on his appointment as the new President of the African Union, as well as Foreign Minister Jean Ping of Gabon on his appointment as the new Chair of the Commission of the African Union. I am confident that the African Union -- and the people of Africa -- will be well-served by the leadership and vision President Kikwete and Minister Ping will bring to these important posts.

The African continent has experienced important progress in recent years. Economic growth is at historic highs, democracy is taking root in many countries, and efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other infectious diseases are showing results. Difficult challenges remain, including ending genocide in Darfur, restoring peace and stability to Kenya, and bringing freedom to the Zimbabwean people. The United States looks forward to working closely with President Kikwete, Minister Ping, and the African Union to address these challenges and to build on recent achievements to secure a better future for all Africans.

Laura and I look forward to beginning our visit to Africa next week.

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