Posted by: africanpressorganization | 31 January 2009

Democratic republic of Congo / Region



Democratic republic of Congo / Region


WASHINGTON, January 31, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — US Department of State Daily Press Briefing

Robert Wood Acting Spokesman

Taken questions


MR. WOOD: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the briefing. If you like, I’d run down – I’ll run down some of the Secretary’s calls that she’s had over the last couple of days. Okay, let me start. Well, first we’ll start in the Middle East. She’s spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, Israeli Foreign Minister Livni, Israeli Defense Minister Barak, Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit, the Jordanian King Abdullah, Palestinian Authority President Abu Mazen, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Fayyad, and Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faysal.


QUESTION: Do you have any reaction to the arrest of the leader of the rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo? Anything there?

MR. WOOD: Yeah. I saw – I’ve seen the reports on it.

QUESTION: His arrest?

MR. WOOD: I believe he’s in Rwandan custody.

QUESTION: Yeah, right.

MR. WOOD: And – but we don’t really have the details of it. But you know, his removal is a welcome step on the road to peace. I mean, he has caused nothing but havoc for the people of Congo, and, frankly, for the people of the region. So you know, he’s been causing havoc for far too long. So – and that’s basically my comment on it.

QUESTION: How significant do you think the cooperation is between Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda? I mean, how significant? Could this be a diplomatic breakthrough?

MR. WOOD: I don’t know. I think this was a good sign of cooperation among those governments to try to get at Mr. Nkunda – General Nkunda. And so – but I can’t give you a much broader assessment at this point. I just don’t know.

QUESTION: Do you – I mean, I know that they haven’t named an assistant secretary or anything like that, but do you think it’s something that this Administration could help foster that cooperation?

MR. WOOD: Oh, absolutely. I mean, Africa is going to be a priority for Secretary Clinton, and trying to foster cooperation by countries in the region, particularly in – you know, the region of Congo is very important. The violence has been going on there for much too long and the Secretary knows that and so does the President. And they’re going to take a very strong interest in trying to promote peace and stability on the continent in general.

QUESTION: Well, up until the Bush Administration left office, was there any kind of U.S. role in helping bring these three countries together?

MR. WOOD: Look, we’re here to talk about this Administration. I work for this Administration. So let’s –

QUESTION: Well, I mean, where does the policy stand right now?

MR. WOOD: Well, again, the Administration just came into office a few days ago.

QUESTION: I know, but I mean, obviously, there were efforts that kind of didn’t – obviously, the efforts didn’t stop last Monday, so –

MR. WOOD: Well, that’s right. But these were efforts that were – you’re talking about the efforts among the three countries of the region.

QUESTION: Well, it didn’t just start this –

MR. WOOD: That’s right.

QUESTION: I mean, obviously, they’ve been building up to this point.

MR. WOOD: That’s right. That’s right.

QUESTION: So what has been the U.S. hand in that?

MR. WOOD: Well, we have been providing, you know, any type of assistance that we thought was prudent to these countries in the region. We’ve been focused primarily on trying to help the refugees and IDPs of the region, who are very large in number. And that’s where a lot of our efforts have been focused. We’ve been trying to bring about a diplomatic solution to the situation in the Congo, as you know, and those efforts will continue. And as I said, it’s a high priority for the Administration.

QUESTION: (Inaudible). I’m not sure I – it’s a high priority for the Administration, but in 21 phone calls, the Secretary couldn’t make a single call to an African?

Okay. Thank you everyone.

QUESTION: Thank you.



SOURCE : US Department of State


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