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Deputy Secretary of State Burns Travels to Africa

Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson shakes hands with Ghana's President Mills during the delegation's visit headed by Deputy Secretary Bill Burns

Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson shakes hands with Ghana's President Mills during the delegation's visit headed by Deputy Secretary Bill Burns (far right)

January 26-30, 2012

Press Briefing

Monday, January 30th - Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns  briefed journalists across the continent from the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Deputy Secretary Burns was traveling to Ghana, South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia January 24-30 to hold bilateral meetings and attend the AU Summit.  Speaking from Addis Ababa, his final stop on his trip to the region, he discussed the U.S. participation in the AU Summit, provided a read-out of his trip, and answered questions.

Media Note

Source: Offfice of the Spokesperson, Jan 24, 2012  

Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns will lead a high-level United States Government delegation to Africa from January 26-30.  In Ethiopia, Deputy Secretary Burns will attend the 18th African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on January 29 and 30.  The Deputy Secretary will also meet with Prime Minister Meles and other senior officials to  emphasize the strategic importance of that country to countering violent extremism in the greater Horn of Africa region.  Deputy Secretary Burns will meet with several regional and international leaders on the margins of the AU summit.

Prior to the summit, the delegation will travel to Ghana, Uganda, and South Sudan.  In Ghana, Deputy Secretary Burns is scheduled to meet with President Mills to reinforce the U.S. commitment to building strong ties with one of Africa’s leading democracies. The visit will highlight the United States’ continued commitment to presidential initiatives such as the Partnership for Growth and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.  Deputy Secretary Burns will also meet with alumni of U.S. exchange programs.

In South Sudan, the Deputy Secretary will meet with Vice President Machar and other senior officials to encourage expeditious resolution to outstanding post-Comprehensive Peace Agreement issues. Deputy Secretary Burns will also encourage the Government of South Sudan’s efforts to promote reconciliation and break the cycle of inter-ethnic violence.

In Uganda, Deputy Secretary Burns’ discussions with President Museveni and members of Uganda’s civil society will highlight the strength of the bilateral partnership on a range of issues, including regional security and on helping Uganda strengthen its commitment to good governance and respect for human rights.  Deputy Secretary Burns will also visit a medical clinic that is advancing integrated health service delivery, a key part of the U.S. Global Health Initiative.


William J. Burns. Deputy Secretary of State

Term of Appointment:  07/28/2011 to present
Bill Burns holds the highest rank in the Foreign Service, Career Ambassador, and became Deputy Secretary of State in July 2011
Ambassador Burns served from 2008 until 2011 as Under Secretary for Political Affairs. He was Ambassador to Russia from 2005 until 2008, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2001 until 2005, and Ambassador to Jordan from 1998 until 2001. Ambassador Burns has also served in a number of other posts since entering the Foreign Service in 1982, including: Executive Secretary of the State Department and Special Assistant to Secretaries Christopher and Albright; Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow; Acting Director and Principal Deputy Director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff; and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council staff.

Ambassador Burns earned a B.A. in History from LaSalle University and M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees in International Relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. He is the recipient of three honorary doctoral degrees. Ambassador Burns is the author of Economic Aid and American Policy Toward Egypt, 1955-1981 (State University of New York Press, 1985). He speaks Russian, Arabic, and French, and is the recipient of two Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and a number of Department of State awards, including the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award, two Distinguished Honor Awards, the 2006 Charles E. Cobb, Jr. Ambassadorial Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development, the 2005 Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award for conflict resolution and peacemaking, and the James Clement Dunn Award. In 1994, he was named to TIME Magazine's list of the "50 Most Promising American Leaders Under Age 40", and to TIME's list of "100 Young Global Leaders."

Source: Department of State