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Bush Urged To Attend African-American Meeting

Organizers of the sixth African-American Summit have announced plans to hold the meeting in Nigeria's capital of Abuja this coming November 26-30.

The summit was postponed earlier this year following the death of Reverend Leon Sullivan who began the biannual summits in 1991. Organizers say they are renaming the summit in honor of Reverend Sullivan who for many years sought to build economic and cultural bridges between African nations and African-Americans.

C.T. Wright has taken over Reverend Sullivan's organizing role for this year's summit. He says a range of issues affecting African nations will be addressed.

"The next summit will focus on such areas as HIV-AIDS and other diseases, trade, and investment opportunities with emphasis on small businesses. [It will] also emphasize the role of women in all aspects of life, promote good governance and the cultural peace and highlight the role of corporate social responsibility," he said.

The organizers have brought in two notable political figures to co-chair the summit in Abuja, former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young and former congressman and cabinet secretary Jack Kemp.

Andrew Young says African-Americans have a special obligation to help Africa at a time when the continent is facing many challenges. "There needs to be someplace where we come face to face," he said. "And I have felt that the future of Africa, however loosely defined, rests in the hands of those of us who are sons and daughters of Africa."

Former cabinet secretary Jack Kemp has worked to improve ties between African-Americans and the Republican Party. He says he will push for President Bush to attend the November summit in Abuja. "I want to praise, publicly, Bill Clinton for going to Africa," he said. "I praised Jimmy Carter for going to Africa. It is now time that a Republican president, the party of Abraham Lincoln, go to Africa and I am pleased to join Andy Young in inviting President Bush firsthand to come to Nigeria."

The African-American summits have been held every other year since Reverend Sullivan organized the first one in the Ivory Coast in 1991.

Summit organizers say the meetings have resulted in concrete achievements in the areas of debt relief, job creation, and worker training.

Reverend Sullivan first came to prominence in the 1970's when he formulated what came to be known as the Sullivan Principles, a code promoting racial equality for American companies doing business in South Africa.