Clinton in the Veld

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CHOBE, Botswana: President Clinton launched the most relaxing leg of his Africa trip today in the Botswana veld, spending quality time with elephants, lions, baboons and other species that don’t talk back.

Clinton’s prior three days in South Africa proved a little more tricky than the White House might have anticipated. Despite a sound relationship with Africa’s economically strongest nation and an emotional celebration of Nelson Mandela’s achievement, the visit produced moments of discord: Not only did Mandela make a spirited defense of his relationships with the likes of Cuba, Libya and Iran, the South African president also publicly criticized President Clinton’s African trade bill for its “trade-not-aid” formulation, and for seeking to set political limits on trade by African countries. But his two days on safari in Botswana aren’t likely to yield any such nasty surprises -- not unless he gets the elephants really mad.