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Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for African Affairs Says Democracy Must Come From Within Africa


Jendayi Frazer's discussion of democracy and human rights in Africa on Straight Talk Africa is available on demand on the program's web page

Washington, D.C., February 1, 2006 -- Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer told the Voice of America today the United States will support democratic movements in Africa but "the responsibility is ultimately with the governments and the citizens of Africa itself, " adding that the U.S. "cannot impose democracy in any country." Frazer made her comments during VOA's live weekly radio and television simulcast call-in program, Straight Talk Africa. Today's program examined the topic of U.S. policy on democracy and human rights in Africa.

Asked about the situation in Ethiopia, where opposition leaders were imprisoned after the last election, Frazer said, "We think it is important that for Prime Minister Meles to release many of the people who are in jail...certainly to bring their trials to a very speedy conclusion...to give them due process of law." In answer to questions about a possible cut-off of U.S. aid to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to release detainees, Frazer said, "The United States does not finance the government of Prime Minister Meles." She clarified that "...the United States assistance to Ethiopia goes through NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) to the people." With a drought in Ethiopia, Frazer said, a cut off of humanitarian assistance would result in starvation and "I don't think anybody wants that."

Straight Talk Africa airs every Wednesday at 1830 UTC (1:30 PM EST). Host Shaka Ssali talks with politicians, diplomats, and analysts and examines topics including conflict resolution, politics, social issues, and health during this live 60-minute call-in program. Additional information can also be found at: www.VOANews.com/tvtoafrica.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages.

For more information, contact the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4959, or by e-mail to publicaffairs@voa.gov.

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