DAKAR — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton begins the East Africa leg of her 10-day tour with visits to South Sudan and Uganda Friday.
Questions of regional security are likely to dominate the agenda.
In Uganda, the U.S. has provided military advisors to assist in battling the Lord’s Resistance Army - which has been a destabilizing force in central Africa for more than two decades.
Kicking off her Africa trip in Dakar Wednesday, Clinton said the United States wants to build mutually beneficial partnerships with African countries that reinforce security, as well as democracy.
"Some people back home say we shouldn’t bother. That we should just focus on America’s immediate economic or security interests and not worry so much about the slow, hard work of building democracy elsewhere," Clinton said. "But I think that is short-sighted. It's also in our interest to have strong and stable partners in the world. And democracies are by far the strongest and most stable partners. So this isn’t altruism. This is a strategic commitment to shared prosperity, to common security."
The secretary of state will meet with Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni to discuss Uganda's role as a "key U.S. partner in promoting regional security," as well as to "encourage strengthening of democratic institutions and human rights."
In South Sudan, Clinton will meet with President Salva Kiir to "reaffirm U.S. support" for the world's newest country and push for "progress in negotiations on issues related to security, oil and citizenship" with Sudan. The two countries must reach a peace deal this week or face United Nations sanctions.
South Sudan officially broke off from Sudan last July. However, disputes between the two countries, in particular over shared oil revenues and border demarcation, have caused tensions, and the risk of renewed conflict, to climb.
Map of Secretary Clinton's stops in Africa
View Clinton's Africa trip in a larger map