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Obama Statement on Bush Meeting With President of the Congo


Location: Washington, DC

Obama Statement on Bush Meeting With President of the Congo

Today, U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) made the following statement on the meeting of President Bush and President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

In 2006, Obama introduced the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act which was signed into law and authorized $52 million in U.S. assistance for the Congo. Obama has also called for a special envoy to resolve ongoing violence, and urged the Administration to strengthen the U.N. peacekeeping force. Earlier this month, Obama asked Secretary Rice to address what the United States government is doing to help curb increasing violence against women in the DRC, and is still awaiting a reply.

Below is Obama's statement:

"The DRC symbolizes the hope that so many Africans have for the future of their continent, but it is also emblematic of the deep challenges facing Africa. Nearly 80 percent of the country's 56 million people live in absolute poverty. There have been reports of the mobilization of military forces in the eastern Congo. The international community must be actively engaged in the DRC not only to bring an end to the conflict in the east but to bring accountability and economic development to this part of our world.

"It's time the Administration stops ignoring the call by Congress to appoint a special envoy to the DRC, and strengthen the U.N. peacekeeping force which is working to stabilize the eastern part of the Congo. The seriousness of the situation there was recently highlighted by devastating reports about the escalation of sexual violence against women in the region. I've asked Secretary Rice for answers to how our government will help curb this violence, and I urge President Bush to address this issue today.

"For the DRC's transition to democracy to be successful, the U.S. and its partners will have to intensify their commitment to work with the Congolese government to enhance security, resolve conflicts, and spur the country's social and economic reconstruction. I hope this meeting brings a commitment by both countries to work together to bring a brighter tomorrow for the people of the DRC."

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