US envoys to Africa vow to work for peace

June 8, 2011 12:00 am

, WASHINGTON, June 8 – Nominees to be the next US ambassadors to key African nations vowed to work for regional peace if the US Senate confirms their nomination by US President Barack Obama.

"Peace and security in the eastern Congo remain elusive… and we believe that Rwanda continues to have a critical and proactive role to play in stabilizing the region," future envoy Donald Koran told US lawmakers.

Koran has been nominated by Obama to be the next ambassador to Rwanda, a nation still scarred by the genocide that tore the country apart in 1994.

Koran also praised Rwandan President Paul Kagame\’s support of international action against the regime of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi when he appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which must approve the nominations.

Geeta Pasi, picked as the next ambassador to Djibouti a key regional ally in the US fight against terrorism, said she would continue to "reinforce" the relationship with Washington and the small Horn of Africa nation.

About 3,000 American soldiers are based in Djibouti, Pasi said, adding she hopes to contribute to efforts to improve the political situation in neighboring Somalia.

Lewis Lukens, nominated as ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, said Senegal is a "critical partner in Francophone Africa… and has been an important player on regional and international issues."

"Concerns about democratic backsliding and corruption have tarnished Senegal\’s longstanding democratic reputation," he said, stressing the importance of the country\’s elections in February 2012.

In Guinea-Bissau, Lukens, if confirmed by the Senate, will be represented by an American official based in Guinea-Bissau.

The committee also considered the nominations of Jeannine Jackson as future ambassador to Malawi and Ariel Pablos-Mendez as future deputy director of the US Agency for International Development, USAID.

US ties with Africa have been been brought to the fore this week, with Obama to meet on Wednesday with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and with Gabon\’s President Ali Bongo on Thursday.

The administration announced the White House meetings on the same day as it revealed another initiative to engage Africa with a visit by First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha to South Africa and Botswana later in the month.


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