Statement by Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Dr. J. Peter Pham

Kinshasa, February, 2019 – During my visit to Kinshasa I met with President Felix Tshisekedi and other senior government officials, Congolese civil society and religious leaders, and representatives from across the country’s political spectrum, including former presidential candidate Martin Fayulu.  In these meetings, I stressed that the United States stands with the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo following the DRC’s historic, peaceful transfer of power. I congratulated President Tshisekedi on his inauguration exactly one month ago and stressed that the United States is committed to supporting him and his efforts to fulfill the Congolese people’s clear desire for change. ‎We are encouraged by the number of important steps President Tshisekedi has already taken during his first month in office to combat corruption, increase transparency, promote accountability, and improve respect for human rights. As the government is formed, we look forward to cooperating with a new team committed to making progress on these shared values. The U.S. visa restrictions announced during my visit support President Tshisekedi’s commitment to root out corruption, advance human rights and strengthen the DRC’s democracy. The individuals publicly identified were responsible for election-related personal corruption going back as far as 2016, well before the start of the campaign period or election day.  As I mentioned to President Tshisekedi, the United States government is ready to receive him when he is able to visit Washington and looks forward to working with him and his government to create a more peaceful and prosperous future for the people of Congo.

I also had the opportunity to thank Ambassador Mike Hammer and the team at United States Embassy Kinshasa for the incredible work they did under difficult circumstances in recent months to advance American interests and strengthen the political, security, and economic ties between our two countries.