Congo making progress in economy
Amid its struggle to counter the surge of instability and violence, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has made significant prgress on its economy.
On his visit to the African country, Special Envoy Russell D. Feingold for the Great Lakes and the Democratic Republic of the Congo said the United States of America is pleased about the progress that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has made in particular in the last year.
Mr. Feingold highlighted that Congo’s economic growth is one of the highest in the world.
He stated that the latest growth was 8 percent.
“Yes, it’s on a low base, but it is positive growth.” – Mr. Feingold
On its security challenges
According to Mr. Feingold, Congo’s military performed admirably in the past year. It has performed admirably in going after one of the most important threats to the security of the country and going after the M23 in conjunction with MONUSCO and their intervention brigade.
“This was not expected that it would go that well and be that complete of a victory.” – Mr. Feingold
He pointed out that despite its many challenges, particularly in the eastern part of the country, Congo can build on its successes.
US committed to help Congo
Recognizing that the security and humanitarian situation in the D.R.C. is the most volatile and violent in Africa, the United States of America reiterated its commitment to help D.R.C. and its neighbors end the cycle of violence and instability.
Reports say that an estimated five million people have lost their lives since 1998, and millions more have been uprooted and displaced due to cycle of violence in DRC.
The people of North and South Kivu provinces in particular have faced repeated cycles of conflict, atrocities, and displacement, with the current crisis simply being the latest iteration.
However, the highest levels of the U.S. Government are committed to helping the D.R.C. and the region achieve a sustainable peace.
In the UN Security Council, Congo’s neighbors have taken action to ensure that five of the most senior and most abusive M23commanders are now under targeted sanctions, and we have placed those same individuals under U.S. sanctions.
In addition, talks between the D.R.C. Government and the M23 began on December 9 in Kampala, and are being mediated by Uganda as the chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, known as the ICGLR.
The US government continues to urge the Ugandan Government to ensure that supplies to the M23 do not originate in or transit through Ugandan territory.
As required by the FY 2012 Appropriations Act, Secretary Clinton suspended Foreign Military Financing, or FMF, to Rwanda in FY 2012 because of its support to the M23.
The Department continues to closely monitor reports of external support, and will continue to respond appropriately, including by reviewing our assistance, to deter this support if it should develops, Mr. Carson highlighted.
President Obama also spoke with President Kagame and underscored that any support to M23 is inconsistent with Rwanda’s desire for stability and peace in the region.
President Obama emphasized to President Kagame the importance of permanently ending all support to armed groups in the D.R.C., abiding by the recent communications he made in Kampala along with Presidents Kabila and Museveni, and reaching a transparent and credible political agreement that includes an end to impunity for M23 commanders and others who have committed serious human rights abuses.
The US government is using all the tools at our disposal to help address and end this crisis.
The US will continue to work with the D.R.C. Government to professionalize its military, including continuing our training to army officers and support to the armed forces’ military justice capacities.
The US urges the international community, the Great Lakes region, and the Congolese people to demonstrate the resolve to achieve the peace and prosperity that we know lays ahead for the D.R.C.
US reveals comprehensive response to the crisi in Congo
In additiom responding to the devastating crisis in eastern Congo, the United States of America has unvield its comprehensive response to the crisis in the African country.
First and foremost, the US is monitoring humanitarian needs and mobilizing a response.
The humanitarian situation in the eastern Congo remains deplorable, as it has been for years, with more than two million Congolese currently displaced internally or to neighboring countries.
The United States provided more than $110 million in humanitarian assistance for Congolese refugees, internally displaced persons, and conflict-affected civilians in Fiscal Year 2012, including a $5 million supplemental contribution for the increased needs in the D.R.C., Uganda, and Rwanda as a result of displacements caused by the M23 rebellion.
At the UN, the US also has urged donors to respond to the UN’s consolidated appeal for the D.R.C.
Second, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, or ICGLR, the African Union, and the Security Council have all demanded that the M23 refrain from further offensives and stay out of Goma.
The US renews call on the D.R.C., neighboring governments, and the broader international community to ensure accountability for M23 leaders who have committed serious human rights abuses.
Third, the US believes that Presidents Kabila, Kagame, and Museveni must continue to engage in direct talks to address the underlying causes of instability in the region.
The US encourages the UN Secretary-General to appoint a UN Special Envoy to engage on a sustained basis to facilitate ongoing discussions toward a long-term solution of these long-standing problems.
The US and Security Council members and troop contributing countries are reviewing options for improving the UN’s ability to protect civilians and help implement defined aspects of a potential regional political settlement.
The United States is strongly encouraging its partners to ensure these efforts are coordinated with, and perhaps even integrated into, UN peacekeeping efforts.
The US government is urging President Kabila to undertake a credible effort to professionalize and reform the Congolese security forces. ]
The US government is making clear that the Congolese Government must accelerate its efforts to deploy and strengthen state institutions and provide needed public services in the Kivus.
The US believes that the time has come for the region’s leaders and the international community to break the cycle of violence and impunity in the region.
Violence has once again plagued the eastern part Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where armed groups have targeted civilians in the area.
Massacres of civilians have made headlined beginning early in August.
According to UN, the deterioration of the overall security situation in North Kivu following the M23 mutiny and related ruthless attacks against civilians is extremely alarming.
The M23 has clashed with national army troops and peacekeepers from the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), which has caused massive displacement of local residents.
The M23’s activities have led to condemnation from Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and the Security Council as well.
According to UN, more than 45 attacks on some 30 villages and towns in the Ufamandu I and II areas, in Masisi territory, in North Kivu province since May this year.
In May this year, fighting has resumed in eastern DRC in recent weeks between Government forces, dissident groups and militia, causing new inflows of refugees enter Rwanda and Uganda.
Reports say 30,000 refugees have arrived in Uganda this month. In addition, Uganda was already host to 175,127 refugees, including 97,424 from DRC.
According to UNHCR, more than 8,200 refugees have crossed from DRC into Rwanda since 27 April. These are in addition to the 55,000 Congolese refugees that Rwanda is already hosting.
The conflict was coupled with very limited access for humanitarian workers means that many thousands of people are without protection and help.
There were an estimated 1.7 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as of July 2011, the vast majority of them in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu. This included over 128,000 people newly displaced in the first quarter of 2011.
A peace agreement in 2003 formally brought years of war to a close, but fighting flared again in North Kivu that same year. An estimated 1.3 million IDPs remain in the DRC, while 350,000 Congolese have fled to other countries.