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Powell discusses embassy bombing, African affairs in Kenya



NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell discussed the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing, Kenyan politics and the conflict with Sudan in a meeting with Kenya's president Saturday.

Powell's stop in Kenya was his third on an eight-day tour of Africa. In a meeting with President Daniel arap Moi, Powell discussed whether or not Moi planned to run for a third term in 2002.

Moi has been in power for 22 years, and under the Kenyan constitution he cannot run again after serving two consecutive five-year terms. There has been widespread speculation that Moi might attempt to amend the constitution to allow a third consecutive term.

"I assured the honorable Powell of our commitment to economic, political, and constitutional reforms as well as in the fight against corruption," Moi told reporters.

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In a speech Friday in South Africa, Powell criticized Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe's planned run for re-election next year and called for "a fair and free election." Mugabe has been in power since the end of white-minority rule in then-colonial Rhodesia in 1980.

"Kenya is an example to the rest of the region of what could be accomplished with elections that allow people to make a choice as to how they will be governed," Powell said Saturday. "We look forward to the election that will be taking place in 2002 for the people of Kenya to once again come forward and express their desires with respect to how they will be governed."

Later Saturday, Powell planned to have a closed-door meeting with families and victims of the 1998 bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Kenya. Powell was expected to lay a wreath at a memorial fountain and lead a moment of silence.

He said the United States has given $42 million in assistance in the wake of the bombing, much of it going to owners of adjacent buildings damaged by the blast.

A group of more than 2,000 Kenyan victims who were not employees of the embassy are suing the United States for damages, but they were unsuccessful in scheduling a meeting with Powell during his trip here.

Douglas Sidialo, one of 30 Kenyans blinded by the bombing, said many of the survivors are poor and desperate. He had hoped to meet with Powell because he is "a black man like us, who is emotionally connected to Africa," and therefore might hear their appeal favorably.

In addressing Sudan, where an 18-year-old civil war has divided the north and south, Powell said the United States would like to see the country work out an agreement on its own. President George W. Bush recently appointed a special envoy to mediate the conflict.

"We are not against any side," Powell said.

Powell is scheduled to depart Sunday for Uganda, where he will meet with the president and embassy officials and discuss the AIDS epidemic.

CNN National Security Correspondent David Ensor contributed to this report.







RELATED STORIES:
RELATED SITES:
• U.S. Department of State
• U.S. National Institutes of Health
• The AIDS Foundation of South Africa
• UNAIDS, The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS


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