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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN
 
                    REMARKS BY
         SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
                      AT THE
          WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCE ON AFRICA
 
                   WASHINGTON, DC
                   JUNE 26, 1994
 
 
        "Building a Better Future in Africa"
 
Secretary-General Salim, distinguished guests:
I am pleased to welcome you to the State
Department as we begin the first White House
Conference on Africa.  Thank you all for taking
a Sunday night to join us.
 
We are meeting tonight in the Benjamin Franklin
room.  The other rooms on this wonderful eighth
floor are also named for our  founding fathers:
Thomas Jefferson, James Madison,  James Monroe.
Providence was generous to America in the
incomparable quality of our first leadership.
 
This Department has been privileged to host
another founding father in this very room, one
of the great men of our century:  the founding
father of the new South Africa, Nelson Mandela.
With dignity, wisdom, and determination, he
stands as a beacon to Africa and to the world
as he leads his country  to a brighter future.
 
Africa is a continent of stark contrasts.  It
is a continent of awesome natural resources and
enormous human potential.  It is also a
continent plagued by political and ethnic
conflict, deteriorating economies, poverty, and
hunger.
 
It is the continent that has witnessed the
single most horrible and the single most
triumphant events on the planet this year.
Africa and the world must confront the horror
of Rwanda.  But we can gain confidence from the
triumph of South Africa.
 
The credit for that triumphant democratic
achievement belongs to the people of South
Africa--to their indomitable political will and
their spirit of tolerance and compromise.
 
But America has been proud to lend a hand.
During the last two years alone, the United
States provided more than $185 million to help
bring an end to apartheid, to organize the
mechanics of free elections, and to build civil
society.
 
The United States is actively supporting the
new march to democracy throughout the
continent.  Malawi has just held its first
multi-party election.  More than two dozen
elections have taken place on the continent
during the last four years, with 12 more
planned before 1996.
 
This year, we have committed $85 million to
help build democratic institutions in Africa.
We are reinforcing our commitment to African
democracy by supporting conflict resolution.
 
Let me emphasize, Mr. Secretary General, that
the United States applauds the OAU's strong
commitment to conflict resolution.  The OAU is
demonstrating that regional diplomacy can work.
Efforts such as those in Angola, Mozambique,
and Liberia, deserve our continued engagement
and assistance.
 
Despite the uncertainties about Somalia's
future, more than 500,000 Somalis who might
have died are alive today because of American
and UN peacekeeping efforts.  Now, Somalis
themselves must determine their country's
future.
 
We recognize that our diplomacy is most
effective when deployed in support of African
efforts.  An end to the civil war in Liberia,
for example, is closer today than at any time
in the last four years.  Much of the credit
goes to the West African community of nations
and others that have contributed peacekeeping
troops.
 
From the onset of the crisis in Rwanda, we have
worked with African nations and the
international community to find a solution to
the horrible ethnic violence and bloodshed.  We
have provided nearly $100 million in
humanitarian assistance.  And we spearheaded
efforts to convene a special session of the UN
Human Rights Commission, because those who
commit acts of genocide must be brought to
justice.
 
But if we are to help prevent such conflicts,
we also must focus on root causes, especially
the interlocking crises of environmental
degradation, unsupportable population growth,
and disease.  If we fail to confront these
scourges now, more lives will be wasted.
 
When the Cairo population conference convenes
in September, the United States will lead in
global efforts to address too-rapid population
growth.
 
This Administration is strengthening our
nation's commitment to preventing humanitarian
crises.  USAID Administrator Brian Atwood
recently traveled to the Horn of Africa to
assess an emergency that places 20 million
people at risk.  USAID is developing a long-
term strategy to prevent food shortages  from
developing into famines once again to get ahead
of the curve for once.
 
Our efforts are aimed at bringing what has been
called "a little preemptive humanity" to a
region where it has been in such desperately
short supply.
 
Our ultimate challenge is to increase Africa's
capacity to address its problems and to create
the conditions in which democratic societies
and market economies can take hold.
 
African nations must sharpen their focus on
strengthening the rule of law, stemming
corruption, and supporting education.  In
Africa as elsewhere, it is market democracies
that have the greatest capacity to avoid
conflict,  achieve sustainable development, and
meet the aspirations of their peoples.
 
This important conference can help us focus on
the challenges facing Africa and mobilize the
energies and resources of the public, private,
and voluntary sectors in this country.
 
We are pleased to be able to draw upon the
important experience and expertise of people
from government, academia, business, the media,
and NGO's.
 
This conference can help build  a sturdy bridge
between America and Africa, a bridge that can
lead to a better future for African nations and
peoples.
 
Thank you very much.
 
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