- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 11, 2006


China’s Li visits Africa for a six-nation tour

PRAIA — Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing arrived here yesterday on the first leg of a six-nation Africa tour expected to focus on feeding the Asian giant’s growing energy needs and balancing U.S. influence.

In keeping with a more than decade-old tradition of showing solidarity with developing nations, the tour is the first on China’s diplomatic schedule this year.

After Cape Verde, Mr. Li is to visit Senegal, Mali, Liberia, Nigeria and Libya, before returning to China Jan. 19.

China has in recent years increasingly looked to Africa — from where it draws a third of its oil — as a source of energy and resources for its booming economy. In the latest of a series of energy agreements with African countries, China National Overseas Oil Corp. said Monday it will buy a 45 percent stake in an oil block off Nigeria’s coast for nearly $2.3 billion.


Museveni promises reforms if re-elected

KAMPALA — President Yoweri Museveni promised yesterday to enact wide-ranging reforms if he is re-elected next month, while opposition-party challenger Kizza Besigye returned to court where he is being tried on a rape charge.

Gen. Museveni made the pledge in a speech to supporters in the capital, where he revealed his ruling Movement party’s campaign platform for the Feb. 23 polls. “Our first element is a revolution in agriculture,” said the president, who has come under fire for prosecuting Mr. Besigye, leader of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change.

Gen. Museveni said he would abolish subsistence farming in a radical overhaul of the East African nation’s economic mainstay, and at the same time foster an industrial revolution by creating special industrial zones on underutilized land to speed Uganda’s development.


Influx from Zimbabwe brings wide unrest

PRETORIA — A South African slum was strewn with debris and the shells of burned-out cars yesterday after three persons died in fighting sparked by an influx of migrants from Zimbabwe, the London Telegraph reports.

Choba squatter camp, 20 miles south of Pretoria, has had 10 days of violence similar in severity to those during the worst days of apartheid. Hundreds of thousands of desperate Zimbabweans have fled the economic crisis and repression of President Robert Mugabe’s rule.

Unprecedented numbers have poured into South Africa, competing for jobs and housing, and causing widespread resentment. The scale of the influx is shown by the incessant deportation of illegal immigrants back home. In the first week of this year, South Africa sent back 6,000. Last year, more than 97,000 were deported.

Weekly notes …

Tension along the Ethiopia-Eritrea border has eased slightly with no large-scale troop movements on either side, the United Nations said yesterday as U.S. diplomats prepared to visit the rival Horn of Africa neighbors in hope of preventing a new war. The U.N. Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea said the situation in and near a demilitarized buffer zone, which it had described as “tense and potentially volatile,” has calmed in recent days. … P.W. Botha, South Africa’s last hard-line white president, marks his 90th birthday today, secluded from a vibrant, multiracial democracy that bears little resemblance to the segregated society he once led. Mr. Botha, president from 1978 to 1989, who has been in poor health, was to spend the day with his family at his home in the southern coastal village where he has lived since retirement.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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