Toronto Star

Obama lauds Kenya’s ‘potential’

U.S. president to meet with African leaders to negotiate end to South Sudan violence

- CHRISTI PARSONS LOS ANGELES TIMES

NAIROBI, KENYA— U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Ethiopia on Sunday to talk about regional terrorism and make a final push to get South Sudan to accept an Africa-negotiated agreement to end the violence and atrocities there.

But senior aides to the president say they aren’t optimistic that there will be a breakthrou­gh at the meeting set for Monday or before an Aug. 17 deadline set by the negotiator­s.

Obama, who is making the firstever visit by a U.S. president to Ethiopia, plans to meet with African leaders for about 90 minutes in Addis Ababa on Monday to talk mainly about South Sudan. He arrived in the capital late Sunday night after spending the weekend in Nairobi, Kenya.

The meeting comes as African negotiator­s prepare a final offer to end the violence in South Sudan, where rival factions are responsibl­e for killings and human-rights violations.

“I don’t think anybody should have high expectatio­ns that this is going to yield a breakthrou­gh,” the official said. “The parties have shown themselves to be utterly indifferen­t to their country and their people, and that is a hard thing to rectify.”

Both parties have had “many, many opportunit­ies” to work things out with regional leaders, the official said.

During his stay in Kenya, Obama pressed the country of his father’s birth to root out corruption, treat women and minorities as equal citi- zens and take responsibi­lity for its future.

Closing his historic visit with an address to the Kenyan people, Obama traced the arc of the country’s evolution from colonialis­m to independen­ce, as well as his own family’s history here. Today, Obama said, young Kenyans are no longer constraine­d by the limited options of his grandfathe­r, a cook for the country’s former British rulers, or his father, who left to seek an education in America.

“Because of Kenya’s progress, because of your potential, you can build your future right here, right now,” Obama told the crowd of 4,500 packed into a sports arena in the capital of Nairobi.

But he warned that Kenya must make “tough choices” to bolster its fragile democracy and economy.

 ?? GEORGINA GOODWIN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES ?? During his visit to Kenya, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that the country must make "tough choices" to bolster its fragile democracy.
GEORGINA GOODWIN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES During his visit to Kenya, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that the country must make "tough choices" to bolster its fragile democracy.

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