Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
February 11, 2016
U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa Thomas Perriello has departed for an extended trip that will include stops in Luanda, Angola; Johannesburg, South Africa; Bujumbura, Burundi; Bukavu and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.); and Arusha, Tanzania. The trip is focused on supporting regional efforts to resolve the crisis in Burundi and supporting upcoming elections in the D.R.C.
The U.S. Government continues to believe that the urgent resumption of a full-time, regionally mediated dialogue among all Burundian stakeholders is the best route for resolving the current crisis and restoring Burundi’s hard-won progress over the past decade. The United States encourages the East African Community (EAC) to immediately identify a date for the resumption of the dialogue, building off the December 28 meeting in Entebbe, Uganda. The Special Envoy will engage with regional and Burundian stakeholders and EAC leadership about next steps for advancing the dialogue. In addition, the U.S. Government strongly supports the African Union’s efforts to encourage the dialogue process and to deploy more human rights monitors to Burundi.
The United States is committed to supporting constitutional integrity regarding the scheduling and conduct of elections in the D.R.C., to include a peaceful electoral process that respects Congolese citizens’ freedoms of assembly and expression. The Special Envoy will meet with Congolese stakeholders to discuss how to move the electoral process forward. He will also raise U.S. concerns over the D.R.C. government’s treatment of political opposition and civil society, and the closing of political space more broadly.
The Special Envoy will attend the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Summit in Luanda, Angola as well as the Private Sector Investment Conference in Kinshasa, D.R.C. The trip will culminate in Arusha, Tanzania, where the Special Envoy will meet with EAC members during the Heads of State summit.