KINSHASA— The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Minister of Communication and Media today commented on remarks made by the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights at the Centre d’Etudes Pour l’Action Sociale (CEPAS) on Tuesday, October 20. Under Secretary Sarah Sewall’s remarks addressed relations between the two countries, economic growth, prospective elections and the DRC’s progress in addressing sexual violence.

Minister Mende stated that, “the DRC welcomes Under Secretary Sewall to Kinshasa. We appreciate her description of the United States’ ‘very deep and longstanding commitment’ to the future progress of our nation. We look forward to continued cooperation and as we advance our objectives of inclusive economic growth, democratic governance, and the promotion of peace and security.”

With regard to upcoming national elections in the DRC, Under Secretary Sewall acknowledged certain challenges and emphasized that the “United States believes there is an urgent need for an inclusive forum that would allow the country’s political and civic leaders to resolve these issues and reach broad consensus on the way forward.”

In response to these remarks, Minister Mende noted that to support and advance the electoral process, President Kabila called earlier this year for a national dialogue to encourage participation by all stakeholders and ensure a peaceful environment throughout this period, which will culminate in 2016 with the presidential election.  He also stated that “President Kabila is committed to upholding the Constitution with regard to the upcoming elections. He continues to pursue a national dialogue with political and civic leaders to ensure that the voice and views of all Congolese people are heard throughout this process, and that the country is unified on a plan for fair, free and peaceful elections. We appreciate the support of the United States in this regard.”

During her remarks, Under Secretary Sewall also noted that in recent years, “the [DRC] has led this region in economic growth. It has achieved hard-won although unfinished success against armed groups like the M23, and it has brought a measure of security to communities that had long afflicted by strife – even though much work remains to end the violence. The government also has taken initial steps to hold accountable the perpetrators of horrific atrocities against civilians – whether those perpetrators fight against the state or on its behalf.”


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