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Restraint and Dialogue Needed in DRC


Demonstrators gather in front of a burning car during an opposition rally in Kinshasa, DRC, Sept. 19, 2016.

The United States is engaged with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC] and its regional partners to encourage political dialogue and movement towards free and fair elections.

The United States is engaged with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC] and its regional partners to encourage political dialogue and movement towards free and fair elections. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, while attending the United Nations General Assembly session in New York, said that that U.S. Special Envoy for The Great Lakes, Thomas Perriello, has been active:

“Our special envoy for The Great Lakes has spent quite a bit of time over the past weeks with all the parties to help them move forward a dialogue that is inclusive and that gets a process moving to have election as soon as possible.”

“That process,” Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield noted,” has stalled:

“We are now encouraging the process to resume or, at minimum, to encourage some of the opposition figures who were not involved in that process to join the process. And we are engaged with the government [of the DRC] in a very intense way to encourage them to show restraint, but also to open itself up to having a dialogue that is inclusive with the opposition.”

The crisis in the DRC is of major importance to neighboring countries, she said:

“DRC is. . .the heart of Africa and any situation of instability in that country will have a major impact on the region. And so all of the regional partners are concerned. They are engaged and we’re hopeful that the situation will resolve itself.”

Assistant Secretary Thomas Greenfield said the U.S. will take appropriate action to support democracy and human rights in the DRC:

“We have indicated that we are prepared to use sanctions against those who are blocking the process to have the election and particularly against those who were involved in the commission of human rights violations against demonstrators.”

“Peaceful demonstrators,” she said, “should have the right to demonstrates and have their voices heard.”

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