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State Department Official Promotes US Foreign Policy on African Tour

US Assistant Secretary of African Affairs Johnnie Carson, address journalists in Kampala, Uganda, July 27, 2010 (file photo)
US Assistant Secretary of African Affairs Johnnie Carson, address journalists in Kampala, Uganda, July 27, 2010 (file photo)
Heather Murdock

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson has arrived in Rwanda Friday, as a part of a three-nation African tour intended to promote U.S. foreign policy and economic development.

After laying a wreath on the grave of 250,000 victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, U.S. diplomat Johnnie Carson toured the memorial which explains the history of the massacre. About a million ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered in 100 days.

Despite opening his trip with a somber acknowledgment of the past, U.S. officials say his focus is to discuss security, economic development and regional integration with the governments of Rwanda, Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Speaking to reporters outside the memorial, Carson also praised a series of recent African elections, saying the United States hopes this will become "the norm."

"People across this continent are yearning for democracy," he said. "We have seen a sweep of democracy over the last years. We have seen free and fair elections take place in countries as large as Nigeria and as small as Cape Verde. We have seen democracy and good elections in places like Zambia, in Niger, in Côte d'Ivoire."

Asked to comment about Thursday's death of Libya's former leader Moammar Gadhafi, Carson said it is "a new era of promise and change and democracy for the people of Libya."

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