President Obama plans to thank predecessor George W. Bush Tuesday for his efforts against HIV and AIDS in Africa, saying the Republican deserves “enormous credit” for saving millions of lives.
Speaking at a press conference in Tanzania, Mr. Obama said Monday that the tens of billions of dollars that have been sent to Africa under the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief — known as PEPFAR — that Mr. Bush set into motion in 2003 is one of his predecessor’s “crowning achievements,” opening up drug treatments to children and adults that helped them avoid infectious diseases.
“President Bush deserves enormous credit for that,” Mr. Obama said, “and so I’m looking forward to being able, on African soil, to once again thank him on behalf of the American people for showing how American generosity and foresight could end up making a real difference in people’s lives.”
In a chance encounter, the two presidents are expected to see each other Tuesday at a ceremonial wreath-laying ceremony in Tanzania. The ceremony will honor victims of the 1998 bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania.
Mr. Bush and wife Laura are in Africa at the same time as Mr. Obama’s three-nation tour of the continent. The Bushes attended the opening of a cervical-cancer clinic Monday in Zambia.
Mr. Obama arrived in Tanzania Monday after visiting South Africa and Senegal.