Following his recent tour of the great lakes region, Johnnie Carson, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, has pledged to support what he says is a "positive momentum," in the region.
According to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programmes, Carson told the U.S. Congress Tuesday that the situation in Africa's Great Lakes region has improved and the US remains "dedicated to doing what we can to keep that positive momentum going."
He said central to those efforts is improving the situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), "where the continuing presence of armed groups has been exacerbated by the lack of state authority."
The US senior diplomat for African affairs concluded a two-week tour of Africa and the Great Lakes, last week, and was briefing US lawmakers on the latest developments in the region.
The US is helping train the DRC army with a focus on human rights practices, Carson said.
"The judicial and penal systems in the DRC are broken, and impunity rather than accountability reigns. Illegal natural resource exploitation funds armed gangs.
"President Kabila has taken important steps to address insecurity, but they remain insufficient," Carson said, adding that the US is looking forward to the DRC’s imminent national elections in September 2011.
"In my conversations with President Kabila last month, I stressed the importance of adhering to this democratic electoral calendar. The government has promised that the elections will be free, democratic and transparent. We hope that this will be the case."