Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will travel to Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Sudan this week to examine US foreign assistance programs in the region. Durbin and Brown's trip will focus global health, maternal/infant mortality, clean water, sanitation, refugee, and economic development activities. The Senators will also discuss regional peacekeeping and diplomatic issues.
Due to security concerns, the full itinerary will not be released in advance.
Durbin and Brown departed Friday, traveling first to Tanzania where they plan meet with embassy officials, tour rural health clinics and hold meetings with Tanzanian health officials.
The Senators will then travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo where they will discuss regional security issues with the UN peacekeeping force stationed in the eastern part of that country. They will also tour refugee camps and health facilities which house and treat victims of the region's bloody civil war.
In Ethiopia, Durbin and Brown will again focus on health issues - specifically HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention - with stops at rural and regional health facilities. They will also discuss regional security issues and humanitarian issues with stops at local refugee camps. Finally, the Senators will meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
The final stop of the trip will be to Sudan where Durbin and Brown will discuss regional security concerns with the President of South Sudan, H.E. Lt. General Salva Kiir Mayardit. They will also discuss water and sanitation issues while touring refugee camps for those displaced by the conflict in the Darfur region of the country.
The Senators will return to the United States on Friday the 19th.