U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
is scheduled to meet Democratic of Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila in
the capital, Kinshasa Monday.
Clinton is also
scheduled to visit Goma, the capital of North Kivu State, where she will meet
with victims of sexual violence.
Abuse against women has soared since Kinshasa launched an offensive
against rebels in January.
visiting the DRC, Secretary
visited Angola Sunday where she pressed Luanda to fight graft, prosecute past
human rights abuses and expedite democratic reforms.
DRC is the fourth stop on
Clinton's seven-nation African tour.
Ambassador Bene M'Poko serves as the DRC's
top envoy to South Africa. He told VOA that Secretary
Clinton's visit will signal to the rest of the world that Congo is ready for
are very honored that Secretary Clinton can come to the DRC at this point in
He said President Barack
Obama has always supported Kinshasa's effort to stabilize the country after
years of rebel insurgencies.
will recall that Senator Obama in 2006 sponsored a law in the United States
Congress, which mandates the United States to provide military assistance, and
technical assistance to the DRC so that we can have a strong army so that we
can defend our borders," he said.
M'Poko said Kinshasa
wants Washington fully to implement the military cooperation law as well as
much needed humanitarian assistance.
"We are still waiting for
the implementation of the law (President Obama sponsored). In addition to that,
we are waiting for humanitarian assistance from the international community and
especially from the United States because although we have pacified the
country, there are still thousands and thousands of internally displaced people
in the DRC," M'Poko said.
He said Kinshasa expects
Washington's backing towards stabilizing the entire Central African region.
"We would like the United
States to play a role in consolidating the peace agreement we have reached with
our neighbors in the east. This is very important. As you know, we need to live
in peace with our neighbors. And it is important that the United States plays a
role in maintaining that peace," he said.
M'Poko said there are strong
diplomatic relations between Kinshasa and Washington.
"The United States
recognizes the importance of DRC…DRC has the resources it can contribute to the
development of the region as well as the development of the continent of
Africa. We can become an ally of the United States in the development of the
region. Therefore our relationship with the United States will extend beyond
just the bilateral relationship," M'Poko said.
Secretary Clinton is scheduled to meet with some victims of sexual
violence, allegedly perpetrated by rebel insurgents in some parts of the
Democratic Republic of Congo.
The United Nations estimates
that about 3500 women have been raped - by perpetrators from both sides of the
DRC conflict, since the beginning of the year.
M'Poko said Clinton will
ascertain how the conflict has adversely affected Congolese after visiting
areas of the conflict.
"The secretary of state will
travel to Goma, which is eastern Congo. She will see firsthand the negative
impact of the war. The damages done by the armed groups that are still running
around eastern Congo where we need the humanitarian assistance to help the
internally displaced people to return to their villages," M'Poko said.
Secretary Clinton is also
expected to use her visit to denounce violence against women in conflict areas.