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Jackson: Expand African Democracy

December 19, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton will have to ``use his considerable strength″ to encourage African nations to take the lead in expanding democracy on their continent, Jesse Jackson said Thursday.

Jackson, Clinton’s special envoy, briefed Clinton on his recent meetings in Africa in advance of Clinton’s trip to the continent next year. He said urging Africans to stabilize their government through democracy should be a top Clinton priority.

``When (Clinton) goes, he has to use his considerable strength to help to convene African leadership to make this more of a collective, regional effort,″ Jackson said. ``We have tremendous challenges in the Congo and in Nigeria, in the Sudan. But these are problems that can be solved.″

Jackson said the administration was putting an emphasis on Africa as ``a strategic trading ally,″ but must couple the expansion of trade with a commitment to human rights.

``Trade without human rights could very well equal slavery,″ Jackson told reporters following his meeting with Clinton. ``Indeed, that was true before. Now to talk about trade in the context of democracy and conflict-of-interest laws means that we’ll be doing that which is morally right and that which will be economically beneficial.″

Clinton appointed Jackson as his special envoy for promoting democracy in Africa. The number of democratic nations on the continent has grown from five to 23 in six years.

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