Clinton Atones in Africa

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KIGALI, Rwanda: President Clinton yesterday waxed apologetic about slavery and the U.S. role in “crushing the aspirations” of Africa during the Cold War; today he berated the West’s failure to intervene and stop the killing of up to 1 million ethnic Tutsis by Rwandan Hutu extremists. Before his speech, Clinton heard harrowing tales of the killing from six survivors. Despite his tone of remorse, the President’s three-hour visit to Rwanda still raised hackles locally. For security reasons, Clinton never left the airport, but the Rwandan government was angered by his failure to visit a memorial to genocide victims hastily constructed within the airport’s precincts.

Clinton flew back to Uganda in the afternoon for a brief summit with the heads of state of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Congo and Tanzania. Tomorrow, he arrives in Cape Town, South Africa, where he’ll face protests from anti-land mine campaigners, radical Muslims and the Friends of Cuba. And there, too, he’ll no doubt find something for which to apologize.