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Obama Appears With Bush at Site of Tanzania Terror Blast

Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Obama and former President George W. Bush attended a ceremony in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to mark the memory of those killed by a terrorist bomb 15 years ago.


By MICHAEL D. SHEAR, Published: July 2, 2013

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — Two presidents who spent much of their time in office fighting terrorism stood solemnly next to each other Tuesday morning as a United States marine placed a wreath to mark the memory of those killed here by a terrorist bomb 15 years ago.

President Obama, in Tanzania for the last leg of his weeklong Africa trip, stood to the left of his predecessor, George W. Bush, under a tree canopy on the grounds of the American Embassy here. Mr. Bush is in Tanzania with his wife, Laura, who is holding a summit for African first ladies.

In 1998, a bomb placed by Al Qaeda ripped through the old American Embassy, about a mile-and-a-half away, killing 10 Tanzanians and injuring 85 others. The new embassy opened in 2003. On a grassy area in front of the new building, a bronze plaque bears an inscription from Bill Clinton, who was president at the time of the bombing.

“We must honor the memory of those we mourn by pressing the cause of freedom and justice for which they lived,” Mr. Clinton wrote. “It is the burden of our history and the bright hope of the world’s future.”

The brief, mostly silent ceremony on Tuesday offered Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama a chance to pay their respects. After walking out and taking a short moment of silence, the pair greeted a handful of family members of those who were killed and embassy employees who survived the blast.

Mr. Obama was originally scheduled to preside at the wreath-laying alone. But when Mr. Bush’s trip overlapped, the White House amended the schedule. Mr. Bush arrived inside the embassy compound a few minutes after Mr. Obama. Aides said the two men talked briefly as they waited to begin the ceremony.

The encounter underscored a recurring theme for Mr. Obama throughout his African trip: How to live up to the accomplishments of Mr. Bush, who is well regarded in Africa for devoting billions of dollars to a program to fight AIDS on the continent.

Mr. Obama has repeatedly praised Mr. Bush this week, calling the AIDS program a huge success. But the current president has also sought to demonstrate his own commitment to improving the lives of Africans. He announced plans to bolster trade and investment, improve the delivery of electricity and expand Mr. Bush’s AIDS programs to combat other diseases.

After the wreath-laying ceremony, Mr. Obama stopped briefly at a power plant here to emphasize his plans to help provide reliable electricity to millions of Africans who are without it. The United States has pledged $7 billion toward helping to convince private companies to build power plants in Africa.

Source: New York Times

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