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Monday, October 18, 1999 Published at 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK

World: Africa

Albright highlights African democracy

Madeleine Albright: Third visit to Africa

By BBC State Department Correspondent Richard Lister

The US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has embarked on a tour of Africa designed to promote democracy and focus on threats to stability on the continent.

Her six-day trip takes her to Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mali, Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania, where she'll lead the American delegation at the funeral of the former Tanzanian president, Julius Nyerere.

This is Mrs Albright's third visit to Africa as Secretary of State and as much as anything, it's designed to highlight progress towards peace, democracy and civil society, particularly in Nigeria and Mali.

But Washington is also concerned that individual states are facing renewed pressure from trans-national problems, such as civil war, poverty and disease.

Guinea, the first stop, has had to withstand the arrival of some half a million refugees, most of whom have fled the civil war in Sierra Leone.

In Sierra Leone itself, she's due to meet both government representatives and rebel leaders to express concerns about the implementation of the Lome peace agreement.

Having been criticised by human rights groups for supporting a pact that included an amnesty for those who carried out atrocities during the civil war, Mrs Albright is now determined that the agreement does at least stop the atrocities from continuing.

[ image: Economic reform will be on the agenda in Kenya]
Economic reform will be on the agenda in Kenya
While in Kenya, she's expected to spend considerable time on the Sudanese peace process, meeting representatives from both north and south of the country.

Officials say she's also hoping to meet the leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement John Garang but she won't meet any Sudanese government officials.

Economic reform will be high on the agenda in Kenya and in Tanzania, where she'll represent the United States at the funeral of the former president, Julius Nyerere.

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