- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will encourage East African leaders this week to boost security and political stability in a region threatened by al- Qaeda and growing in importance as a source of energy. Clinton is scheduled to arrive in Uganda today as part of an 11-day tour that began in Senegal on July 31. She will meet leaders from Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Somalia, countries essential to Washington’s strategy to fight Islamist militants and expand American economic interests.
“The dimension of security will be a central part of her visit,” Joseph Siegel, director of research at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, said in a phone interview from Washington on July 31. “The U.S. shares an interest in bringing stability to Somalia -- that’s a key point of focus -- and reducing the threat that terrorism poses regionally and internationally.”
The Horn of Africa nation’s Western-backed transitional government and an African Union-led military force are battling the Islamist insurgent group, al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda’s franchise in Somalia.