STATEMENT BY MARK TONER, ACTING SPOKESPERSON
The United States is disappointed by lack of progress in implementation of the December 31 Saint-Sylvestre Political Agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We are concerned by the inability of both the Government of the DRC and the leaders of the opposition Rassemblement coalition to make the compromises necessary to enact pre-agreed provisions of the agreement, including the appointment of a Prime Minister.
The formation of a new government, as prescribed by the agreement, would pave the way for elections and the DRC’s first peaceful, democratic transfer of power through the expressed will of the Congolese people. The U.S. commends the tireless efforts of the DRC’s Council of Catholic Bishops (CENCO) in mediating this initiative, strongly supports a continuing role for CENCO in the process, and seconds CENCO’s public appeal for both sides to redouble efforts to overcome points of disagreement. Failure to move ahead with the accord clearly thwarts the will of the Congolese people and jeopardizes the progress achieved thus far.
The United States urges government and opposition leaders to refrain from any statements or actions that could incite violence or unrest.