August 10th, 2009
10:20 AM ET
9 years ago

Hillary Clinton will take U.N. plane to epicenter of African conflict

(CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday she will travel to the epicenter of Africa's longest war Tuesday to try to help victims of more than a decade of regional conflict.

Clinton will fly on a United Nations plane to Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo because the U.S. plane for her seven-nation Africa trip is too big, she told reporters.

The Congo conflict has involved several countries and resulted in an estimated 5 million deaths from fighting and collateral problems such as disease and starvation, according to an International Rescue Committee survey conducted more than a year ago. In addition, tens of thousands of women have been raped in the ongoing regional strife stoked by competition for mineral riches.

"I will be pressing very hard for not just assistance to help those who are being abused and mistreated, in particular the women who are turned into weapons of war through the rape they experience, but also looking for ways to try to end this conflict," Clinton said.

She spoke to reporters while flying from Angola to Kinshasa, the Congo capital, after meeting with Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos on the third leg of her 11-day trip.

Dos Santos noted that "there's a lot of money being made in the eastern Congo because of the mineral trade, and there has to be a way with the United States and the United Kingdom and France and Rwanda and everybody coming together and trying to prevent the mining from basically funding a lot of these militias that are keeping the fighting going," Clinton said.

Angola, a nation wracked by 27 years of civil war that ended in 2002, is a major provider of oil to the United States. The former rebel group UNITA complains dos Santos is delaying work on a new constitution and subsequent elections to maintain his hold on power.

Clinton pressed dos Santos and the Angolan National Assembly to complete the new constitution that would formalize democracy.

"We talked at length about the process leading to a new constitution, and how important it was that that be resolved as quickly as possible and elections be held," Clinton said. "We talked about greater transparency in the energy sector, and what more could be done to create accountability."

On Sunday, Clinton gave some pointers to leaders of the National Assembly on American-style democracy.

"What is important is the role of both the majority and minority parties to serve as a check and balance on the executive branch of government," she said, adding: "In a democracy such as yours, the parliament must demand accountability and transparency, and stand against financial corruption and abuse of power."

Clinton opened her Africa trip in Nairobi, Kenya, and then went to South Africa and Angola. After Congo, she will travel to Nigeria, Liberia and Cape Verde.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. ch

    So nice to have a high profile woman of the caliber of Hillary Clinton.


    She is the polar opposite of Sarah.

    August 10, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Hillary, while I appreciate your humanitarian efforts in that part of the world, it would appear that your logical presence is needed here in the U.S. Democracy as we know it is under attack by the rightwing nuts that have had waaaaay too much crazy juice to drink. Every able man, woman, and child capable of formulating cohesive and RATIONAL thought is needed in order to combat the fringe lunatics.

    So, please hurry home Hillary. Your country is under attack by domestic terrorists better known as the GOP!

    August 10, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Good luck Sec. Clinton. I don't think fighting in Africa will ever end.

    August 10, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. Florida Democrat

    LOVE Hillary! Brilliant, brilliant mind & soul!!!

    August 10, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  5. yuri

    Clinton's current country-tour of African nations is being considered with caution as a reminder of the problems confrontin' the continent as a whole. The Kenyan dowry offer is construed by us as a red herring and a facetious move by the proposer. However, Hillary will be prudent enough to pursue a pensive path of problem-solvin' trip, as best as she can.

    August 10, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. Karine

    Hilary Clinton is doing a very impressive job as Secretary of State and one can see now that she would have made a great President.
    Unlike Obama , who has shown his inexperience and lack of maturity .
    America , once again got it so wrong , they chose likeability over substance.

    August 10, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  7. sunshine

    sometimes the problems we have here in the U.S seem minor compared to what is going on in other countries, bless you Hillary and good luck on your mission.

    August 10, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  8. rachel

    Good luck Hill!

    August 10, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. Henry Miller

    Uh, "epicentre" technically means "the point on the Earth's surface directly above the focus of an earthquake." Even used figuratively, it would refer to a place above some site of interest rather than the site itself.

    Unless Ms Clinton intends to hover in a helicopter somewhere above Goma, she will at the centre of African conflict, not the epicentre.

    August 10, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. ck

    At least the US is sending someone who knows how to dodge sniper fire

    August 10, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Four and The Door

    See? Now Hillary is not being marginalized. This is an important job. If she said or did the wrong thing then, well...okay that would be difficult to do. What was I saying?

    August 10, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. Stan Cromer

    I recall not too long ago the Democrats were constantly whining about the war in Iraq, among other issues. And was even busing people to the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas to harrass him while he was vacationing. I even recall groups shouting down President Bush when he gave public speeches with some from Hollywood cursing at, and others spewing hateful remarks at, our Commander-in-Chief. Where was the Democratic Party's concern about civility then? Point is this: the war in Iraq didn't touch everyone's lives the way health care does. So, get used to the shouting. It's bound to get louder. But hey, ain't democracy great?

    August 10, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. Fair is Fair

    I wonder if she'll have to dodge sniper bullets like she did in Bosnia.

    August 10, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. Mississippi Mike

    She'll come back with stories of dodging machetes and spears I'm sure. Here's the paradox of Africa: Africa was relatively peaceful and productive while being ruled by European nations. Now that we no longer rule them we give them food, clothing, medicines, weapons and whatever else they tell us they need and they live in starvation and poverty. Unless we are headed there to take the continent back under Western control, her efforts are absolutely useless.

    August 10, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. Sam Sixpack

    Hillary Clinton is in Africa trying to determine which African healthcare system will be used as America's model after the rest of our money is rerouted to fat, greedy Washington insiders.

    August 10, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. Bpin

    A waste of time and taxpayers money. War is a way of life for these folks and it has been for decades, and will be for decades long after we are gone. When are we going to realize that we cannot change cultures to be like us, regardless of how great and powerful we think we are. I think she needs to be on the streets of some of our inner cities, where a savage war is raging that we are just ignoring.

    August 10, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  17. Polar Bears Against Palin

    The greedy, selfish, right-wing whine machine is at it again. Why aren't you conservatives that post here in Iraq right now fighting Bush and Chenys' lie of a war?

    August 10, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. Scott L

    She is so irrelevant.

    August 10, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  19. Idiot_Pelosi

    I wonder if Africa can keep the old wind bag?

    August 10, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  20. William, from Cali!

    Good luck, Hillary! I hope, Bill is with you!

    August 10, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. Laverne

    Good for Hillary, she and Obama are attempting to do big things and they should be applauded!

    August 10, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  22. Jim

    i find it interesting that the obvious right wing commenters are suggesting Hillary should be doing her job here, in the states, rather than traveling abroad to other nations.

    it's clear that those right wingers don't know what the position "secretary of state" entails. such a simple thing. and yet, they want us to belive they understand complex legislation. I guess ignorance is bliss.

    August 10, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  23. Cindy

    Be safe Hillary.

    August 10, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. maddawg, wash. DC

    is this old hagg traveling on a plane really a story??

    aren't there MILLIONS of people that travel across the globe every day? is the crusty old 'last lady' a news story when she travels?

    some journalists simply have to grab the crap floating around in order to create a's really pathetic.

    but at least that gives the really good journalists an opportunity to excel way above these types that write such dumb, meaningless'll never get a pulitzer......but i'm sure you already knew that!!!

    August 10, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  25. twitwits are the new nitwits

    Hillary will do a fine job there.Much of the fighting there is caused by outside influences"Corporate Fascists" stealing the natural wealth"diamonds,metals and oil,etc., of these nations.

    August 10, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
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