U.S. President George Bush and Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore discussed the political crisis in Zimbabwe and efforts to get more African Union peacekeepers to Darfur. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports Burkina Faso has qualified for $480 million in U.S. assistance for education and agriculture.
The United States and Burkina Faso worked together in the U.N. Security Council on a resolution to sanction Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe following his re-election last month in a vote that his opponent boycotted because of attacks on opposition supporters.
Following Oval Office talks with President Compaore, President Bush says he is disappointed that the arms embargo against Zimbabwe was vetoed by Russia and China.
"We deeply care about the plight of the citizens of Zimbabwe and we hope there is a peaceful resolution soon. I told the president that in the meantime, our government is looking at sanctions beyond that which would have been levied out of the Security Council," said Compaore.
President Bush thanked President Compaore for his help at the United Nations and praised him as a constructive force for peace and stability.
President Compaore says he and President Bush discussed work toward democracy and stability in Africa, and the urgent need for true rule of law in Zimbabwe. The Burkinabe leader says they spoke of efforts to find a political solution to the humanitarian crisis in Sudan's troubled Darfur region.
The leaders also discussed efforts to fight malaria and AIDS in Africa.
Burkina Faso has qualified for a five-year, $480-million grant from the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation. The money is to help farmers by investing in irrigation, expanding access to land titles and credit, and fixing rural roads to speed the delivery of livestock and produce.
The money is also meant to boost adult literacy and fund the construction of new classrooms at 132 schools, including playgrounds and equipment. U.S. officials say almost 20,000 children are expected to benefit from the program, including more than 9,000 girls.
President Bush began the Millennium Challenge Corporation to make recipients of development assistance more accountable by requiring them to meet standards of good governance, rule of law, free markets, and investments in health and education. Countries that qualify design their own programs to best meet their individual needs.
President Bush says Burkina Faso's compact is a direct result of President Compaore's leadership.
"This grant would not have been awarded without your commitment to fighting corruption, your willingness to invest in the health and education of your people, your adherence to marketplace principles," he said.
Since 2004, the Millennium Challenge Corporation has signed more than $5 billion worth of compacts with Armenia, Benin, Cape Verde, El Salvador, Georgia, Ghana, Honduras, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nicaragua, and Tanzania.