–SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good morning, everybody. I’ve just come from a productive, good meeting with President Kabila and Foreign Minister
Tshibanda. We spoke candidly about the enormous opportunities and the challenges that are faced by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and
we spoke very candidly also about the ways in which we can make progress going forward. I congratulated the president on the
accomplishments that he and his government have achieved, together with the work of MONUSCO, but we also talked about the steps that now
need to be taken to provide further stability; increased, broader democracy; greater justice; and a greater amount of economic
development for the Congolese people.
The president expressed his vision and his commitment to each of these efforts, and I think it’s fair to say that he leaned forward on his
commitment to make sure that the accords – the Kampala accords as well as the peace and security agreement are well implemented over the
course of the days ahead.
The suffering in the Great Lakes region of Africa and the crisis in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo really continues
to trouble all of us. The eastern DRC has been the scene of some of the most horrific crimes of violence against women and girls that are
imaginable. And it’s a powerful reminder of the obligations that we all face, that we all share with respect to not only ending the
killing and the fear, but in order to work for the birth of a new generation of stability and of hope.
Achieving a lasting peace in the DRC is a priority of President Obama and a priority of mine. And that is why we appointed a close colleague
of mine from the Senate for 18 years, Senator Russ Feingold, who is here with us today, as the United States Special Envoy for the African
Great Lakes region and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Russ brings enormous intellect, passion, commitment to this issue. And already, he
has been able to have an impact on the ground. He has been working with the UN Representative Mary Robinson, with the leaders in the
region, and we are very pleased that the Nairobi Declarations were achieved, as well as a reduction in violence.
But he would be the first to say that we have further steps to take in order to complete this task, and we all understand what they are. The
efforts to disarm, to demobilize, to reintegrate – these are the priorities of the moment. I want to commend the Congolese military and
MONUSCO for defeating the M23 and for taking the fight to the Allied Democratic Forces – the ADF, as we know them – and many other
Congolese armed groups. The United States welcomes the Kabila government’s commitment to focus on the Democratic Forces for the
Liberation of Rwanda, and we discussed with President Kabila the steps that need to be taken with respect to that.
But I need to be clear: Military force alone will not deliver stability to the DRC. Lasting peace will not grow out of the barrel of
a gun. It will come from restoring state authority and state services, and providing the capacity building that is necessary in those areas
that have been recaptured from armed groups. It will also come from demobilizing the combatants and returning them to civilian life. I
welcome the government’s initial efforts on this front, and we look forward to working with them as we continue programs that will advance
The United States also strongly supports the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework peace process. Now I can’t emphasize enough how
important that process is in identifying and resolving the root causes of the conflict in the DRC as well as in the entire Great Lakes
region. It’s imperative that all of the signatories fully implement their commitments and support the ongoing broader process of bringing
peace to the region. Peace cannot be delayed or deferred or denied, and I think the people of Congo – of the Democratic Republic of Congo
made that clear.
It is not enough just to focus on the military side of this equation, and it’s not enough to focus only on the political stability or
economic development side of it. We need to work on all of these at the same time, and we need to keep the pressure on the FDLR and the
other armed groups. We need to support the parties as they try to implement the framework agreement. So we must provide partnership and
leadership as we urge all of the parties to come together to create a political solution.
And that means free, fair, timely, and transparent elections. I encouraged President Kabila to work with his government and the
parliament in order to complete the election calendar and the budget.
And they need to do so in accordance with the constitution. The United States is committed to supporting the Congolese people, the
government, and other donors as they work towards decisions that are credible, timely, and consistent with the current constitution. And
obviously, it is very clear that the dates and the process need to be set and fully defined, and the sooner, the better.
As a sign of our commitment, I am pleased to announce that $30 million will be immediately made available from the United States in
additional funding in order to support transparent and credible elections as well as recovery and reconstruction programs in the
eastern DRC. This contribution comes on top of already substantial U.S. assistance for economic development for the Congolese people.
USAID plans to invest $1.2 billion over the next five years in the DRC, focusing on improving political and economic governance and on
promoting social development. Our programs will strengthen Congolese institutions and improve their ability to respond to the peoples’
needs, and that includes the delivery of critical healthcare and education services.
I also spoke with President Kabila about another issue which has been a concern of late, and that is the question of adoption for families
in the United States and friends of mine in the Senate who know that there is important, required attention to this question of
international adoption. Here in the DRC since 2009, the number of American families able to provide a house to children who have lost
their parents has grown each year. And today, I urged President Kabila to move as rapidly as possible in the review of the situation that
raised some concerns, and also to lift the new freeze on international adoption from the DRC. We want to enable Congolese children, who seek
to, to be able to be matched with parents abroad who are eager to provide them with a secure and happy future. And as someone – I have
seen this firsthand. My sister has adopted a young child from China. I
know how positive and important this can be for everybody concerned, and I think it’s an issue that’s important to all of us as a matter of
basic human decency.
And we have to admit, all of us, we can have no illusions about the challenges that lie ahead. But even as we look down a complicated
road, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a place of enormous potential. Its people provide
enormous potential. And the people of Congo want a better future. The fact is that together, we have an ability to be able to work to
support the people of the Congo, to build a more secure and prosperous future, which is a responsibility that belongs to all of us.
I can guarantee you that the United States, through the immediate efforts of our ambassador on the ground, our embassy, and particularly
our special envoy, we will continue to work in every way that we know how to be a good partner in this effort, and we look forward to
working with the people of Congo in that in furtherance of that objective.
So I’d be delighted to answer a couple of questions if there are a few.
MS. PSAKI: Great. The first question will be from Mimie Engumb from Radio Oakpi.
QUESTION: (In French.)
SECRETARY KERRY: (In French.)
QUESTION: (In French.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I think I just mentioned it, to be honest with you. There will be elections in many countries in Africa over the
course of the next year or so. I think there are 15 presidential elections and some 37 elections in countries in Africa. And so every
election is really critical and important, and it is important for the people to be able to know what the process is, to have confidence in
And the United States position is very clear: We believe that the elections need to be free, fair, open, transparent, accountable; and
the sooner the process is announced, the sooner that the date is set, the sooner people have an ability to be able to participate; and we
believe that it ought to be done in keeping with the constitutional process of the country.
MS. PSAKI: The next question will be from Nicolas Revise from AFP.
QUESTION: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. You just announced your financial support for DRC for its demobilization plan, but is there
some conditions to this support? What are specifically these conditions? Did you ask specifically to President Kabila to give this
green light to go after the FDLR still active in eastern Congo? And politically, is the U.S. support tied to the respect of the
constitution? So did you ask specifically to President Kabila not to change the constitution and not to run for a third term? Thank you.
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, let me discuss all of that. But first of all, with respect to the conditions, obviously the demobilization is taking
place in accordance with the agreement. And that agreement requires people to go back to their homes, where possible, where they sign,
appropriately, an amnesty for those who qualify. And I think for those who don’t, it is clear that there remains – that is, people who may
have been engaged in crimes against humanity, war crimes – those people remain liable for that. But others who sign the agreement and
sign the amnesty are committed to and encouraged, obviously must return to their homes. That’s an important part of this demobilization
With respect to the election process, the constitution, and the FDLR, we want to see the process of providing stability and completing the
task of disarming the armed groups in the east completed. So that includes not just the completion of the efforts with the ADF, but also
obviously, indeed making sure that the FDLR is held accountable and that the initiative with respect to them will commence.
The president – we did discuss it. The president made it clear that he intends to do that, and I think that there is a schedule. I don’t want
to discuss it because I think it would be inappropriate to do so. But the answer is the president gave his word that that is not just on the
agenda, but that he has a specific process in mind and timing.
And with respect to the constitutional process, we talked about the election. I believe the president’s legacy is a legacy that is very
important for the country, and that he has an opportunity, which he understands, to be able to put the country on a continued path of
democracy. And I believe it is clear to him that the United States of America feels very strongly, as do other people, that the
constitutional process needs to be respected and adhered to. That’s how you strengthen a country.
I have no doubt that President Kabila’s legacy will be defined by the progress he has made in the – particularly the last year in addressing
the security issues of the east, the economic issues of the country.
And he’s a young man with an enormous amount of time to be able to continue to contribute to his country. And I’m quite confident that he
will weigh all of those issues as he makes a decision about the future.
But clearly, the United States of America believes that a country is strengthened, that people have respect for their nation and their
government, when a constitutional process is properly implemented and upheld by that government. And we obviously believe – we’re a country
with term limits. We live by them. We had several hundred years of transformation under that process, and we encourage other countries to
adhere to their constitution.
MS. PSAKI: Thank you, everyone.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you.
(U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE- Office of the Spokesperson)