Six US senators are heading for Africa today to discuss ways of fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic. They’ll visit South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia.
The leader of the delegation is Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. He says, “it is a moral imperative – and in the national interest – to fight the plague and improve the lives of African people.”
Among those joining him on the trip is Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa. Senator Alexander spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe de Capua about the reasons for the visit.
He said it will focus on HIV/AIDS and especially on what the United States can do to help. Senator Alexander said the trip will help determine how President Bush’s fifteen billion dollar AIDS initiative will be distributed.
He said the delegates will report back on what Africans say will be the most help. He discussed the fight against AIDS in Botswana as a model for other efforts.
Senator Alexander also commented on Liberia, saying he supports President Bush's policy. He says the United States will assist Liberia, but most of the work to help that country should come from other African nations.
The senators are due to return to the United States August 29th.
Click the above links to download or listen to Lamar Alexander interview. A separate link is provide for his comments on US policy toward Liberia.