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Chris Burns: Zimbabwe, AIDS, trade on Bush agenda

CNN's Chris Burns
CNN's Chris Burns

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PRETORIA, South Africa (CNN) -- President Bush is in South Africa, the second part of his African trip, meeting with President Thabo Mbeki.

Reporting from Pretoria, CNN White House Correspondent Chris Burns explains how Bush will be tackling problems with Zimbabwe, AIDS and trade.

BURNS: The crisis in Zimbabwe, AIDS and trade top the agenda as President Bush begins a second leg of his five-day, five-country trip across Africa.

The president was greeted [Wednesday] by Thabo Mbeki, the president of South Africa. The U.S. is looking to South Africa as a regional power to exert more pressure on the Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, to step down. Mbeki had been called on by the White House to do more to achieve that.

Mbeki says that it is up to the Zimbabwean people to do so. So now these talks will try to bring some kind of result, such as bringing more pressure on Mugabe to step down. There are sanctions against Zimbabwe right now, but it appears to be not enough.

The economy there is on the verge of collapse. A lot of people are facing starvation due to the "violent misrule" by Mugabe. That is according to the White House.

On AIDS, the president will be showcasing his $15 billion program to try to combat AIDS in Africa and the Americas.

On a trip to a Ford Motor plant, the president will be highlighting trade and the U.S. policy called the African Growth and Opportunities Act. That is aimed at stripping tariffs on African imports to the United States.

South Africa benefits greatly from that, having exported more than $4 billion to the U.S. just last year.

However, U.S. trade policy is also under fire among some Africans, who say that U.S. subsidies of American farmers is making it more difficult for African farmers to export to the United States.


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