U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa Thomas Perriello is in the midst of an extended trip that started on April 4, 2016 in Paris, France, and Brussels, Belgium, and includes stops in Geneva, Switzerland; Kinshasa and Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); Bujumbura, Burundi; and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, through April 20, 2016.
The trip is focused on donor coordination, supporting efforts to advance the regionally mediated dialogue among all Burundian stakeholders and supporting upcoming elections in the DRC. The Special Envoy discussed all of these topics – along with the latest humanitarian needs, existing sanctions regimes, and other concerns in the region – with partners in Europe, including UN agencies in Geneva.
The United States is committed to supporting elections in the DRC that are credible, free, and in accordance with its constitution. The Special Envoy traveled to Kinshasa on April 11. There, and in Lubumbashi, he is meeting with Congolese stakeholders to discuss how to advance the electoral process and help the DRC realize its first peaceful, presidential transition. He will also raise U.S. concerns over the DRC government’s treatment of political opposition and civil society and the closing of political space more broadly.
The regionally mediated dialogue on Burundi remains the best option for resolving the crisis there, and the U.S. Government encourages the region to reconvene it urgently. We welcomed the appointment by the East African Community (EAC) of former Tanzanian President Mkapa to facilitate that dialogue, and we strongly support African Union (AU) and UN efforts to increase monitoring and reporting on Burundi’s human rights and security situations. The Special Envoy will travel to Bujumbura on April 17 to engage with Burundian stakeholders about ongoing concerns over human rights and political space and will press the Government of Burundi to follow through on its recent commitments to release political prisoners and reopen media outlets.
The Special Envoy’s trip will conclude in Tanzania on April 20, where he will meet with officials to discuss EAC and regional efforts in advancing dialogue and peace in Burundi.