By Dr. Peter Pham, Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa
The United States is a committed partner that will engage with all sectors of Congolese society who strive for the common good and a better future.
The United States applauds the important steps President Felix Tshisekedi and his government have made toward delivering the change the Congolese people voted for last December, including opening political space, making progress on human rights, taking on corruption, advancing peace in Eastern Congo, and combatting Ebola. In my second visit to the DRC as the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, I was honored to meet with President Tshisekedi and assured him of continued American support for these efforts that benefit the Congolese people and will attract American investment and grow trade through our U.S.-DRC Privileged Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (PP4PP). I encouraged President Tshisekedi to redouble efforts to reform and strengthen the DRC’s democratic institutions and to fight corruption. I was particularly struck by President Tshisekedi’s words at the 15th Congolese National Prayer Breakfast that for the DRC to prosper, it needs to promote “the values of justice, peace, and love” – values Americans share and which are at the core of our Privileged Partnership.
The United States has invested generously in Congolese efforts to combat Ebola and other infectious diseases, foster a safe and free press environment, expand economic opportunity, fight corruption, strengthen the institutions of good governance, and protect the environment. We believe in the Congolese people and their desire and capacity to reach their full potential and build a vibrant nation.
During my trip, I also met with several other senior government officials; United Nations MONUSCO SRSG Leila Zerrougui, UN Ebola Coordinator David Gressly, and their colleagues; civil society; international diplomatic partners; and religious leaders. Throughout all my meetings, one thing was clear: the Congolese people are demanding that their political leaders abandon the insidious cycle of greed and impunity that has long plagued this country and are hopeful and optimistic about the prospects for progress.DRC’s journey to self-reliance is challenging yet achievable. With its vast natural wealth and dynamic people, Congo has the potential to develop quickly and advance stability in Central Africa. The United States is a committed partner that will engage with all sectors of Congolese society who strive for the common good and a better future. We will also continue to use every available tool, including sanctions, to ensure that those who are corrupt, abuse human rights, endanger the peace and security of the region, or threaten the democratic process, are held accountable. Justice and the Congolese people deserve nothing less. Rest assured that the United States remains committed to working together to create a more peaceful and prosperous future for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.