, WASHINGTON, Jul 31 – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit troubled South Sudan on an 11-day Africa trip starting this week aimed at spurring economic growth, peace and security, a US official said on Monday.
Clinton heads first on Tuesday to Senegal before travelling on to the world’s newest nation on a trip which will also take in Uganda, Kenya, Malawi and South Africa, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
In Senegal, the US top diplomat will meet with President Macky Sall, whose coalition won a landslide majority in legislative polls earlier this month, scooping up 119 of 150 seats in the national assembly.
Clinton will “deliver a speech applauding the resilience of Senegal’s democratic institutions and highlighting America’s approach to partnership,” Nuland said in a statement.
Next Clinton will add another country to her globe-trotting tally of 102 nations visited as secretary of state by visiting South Sudan, which this month marked the first anniversary of its independence.
Clinton noted earlier that South Sudan had made strides in nation-building and on building a legal framework. Yet “despite the progress, significant challenges remain that threaten stability and prosperity,” she warned.
The United States is leading international warnings to Sudan and South Sudan to step up efforts to reach a peace deal this week or face possible UN sanctions.
South Sudan broke away from Sudan in July 2011, but no deal has ever been made to set their frontier, how to share revenues from oil reserves that straddle the border, or how to settle citizenship disputes.
The UN Security Council has given the rival neighbours, who this year came close to all-out war, until Thursday to make their peace.
While in South Sudan, Clinton will meet President Salva Kiir “to reaffirm US support and to encourage progress in negotiations with Sudan to reach agreement on issues related to security, oil and citizenship,” Nuland said.
Before returning to the United States on August 10, Clinton will also stop in Uganda – undeterred by reports that the deadly Ebola virus has reached the capital Kampala – as well as Kenya.
She will meet with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni “to encourage strengthening of democratic institutions and human rights.”
Talks will also focus on Somalia and efforts to combat the Lord’s Resistance Army.
In Kenya, she will meet with top officials, and “to underscore US support for completing the political transition in Somalia by August 20, Secretary Clinton will also meet with President Sheikh Sharif.”
After visiting Malawi, Clinton will then travel to South Africa accompanied by an American business delegation “to participate in the US-South Africa Strategic Dialogue focusing on the partnership between our two countries.”
During her stay in South Africa, Clinton will also “pay her respects” to former president Nelson Mandela who has just celebrated his 94th birthday.
Earlier this year, Clinton pledged US backing for democratic and economic development in north Africa as she toured the region that gave birth to the Arab Spring.