Secretary Blinken meets with Democratic Republic of the Congo President Félix Tshisekedi

Secretary Blinken meets with Democratic Republic of the Congo President Félix Tshisekedi in Washington, D.C., on December 13, 2022

 Under the leadership of the President and Secretary of State, the U.S. Department of State leads America’s foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and assistance by advancing the interests of the American people, their safety and economic prosperity. On behalf of the American people we promote and demonstrate democratic values and advance a free, peaceful, and prosperous world. The Secretary of State, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the President’s chief foreign affairs adviser. The Secretary carries out the President’s foreign policies through the State Department, which includes the Foreign Service, Civil Service and U.S. Agency for International Development.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  And let me say what a pleasure it is to have President Tshisekedi here.  I was the recipient of his wonderful hospitality in the DRC some months ago.  But we have a strong partnership between the United States and the DRC.  It’s why we met in Kinshasa, why we’re meeting here.  But I would be remiss if I didn’t start by saying and sharing our condolences for those who lost their lives in the terrible floods that took place just over the last 24 hours.  And I know the foreign minister was telling me that it’s actually very near his own hometown, and we very much regret the loss of life.  It’s also further evidence of the challenges that we’re all facing with climate and we – something that we’re working on together.

But we have a range of shared priorities that we’ll continue to discuss, including free and fair elections next year, finding concrete solutions to sustainable development for the DRC; protecting the Congo Basin, which we’ve had good conversations about; and of course peace in eastern DRC, which we’re determined to support and help pursue.  Earlier today we also signed I think a significant memorandum of understanding with Zambia, and I think this is a very powerful evidence of possibilities for the future and the central role that DRC can play in actually finding for everyone a clean energy future.

So Mr. President, thank you for the time.  Thank you for being here today.  It’s very good to have you in Washington.

PRESIDENT TSHISEKEDI:  (Via interpreter) Thank you, Mr. Secretary of State.  I want to thank you for your invitation and I want to thank and congratulate the United States and President Biden for this wonderful initiative which, in my opinion, is going to bring together the United States and Africa.  We need this in Africa.  We felt that the United States had remained far from African concerns for a long time, and now we have an excellent example of good initiative on the part of President Biden, and we welcome this especially since the U.S. position when it comes to security in the DRC really encouraged us.

Our country unfortunately is (inaudible) of a aggression which is hidden but it’s from Rwanda, and this has been destabilizing this – a part of our country, the eastern part of DRC, with all sorts of suffering for the populations who have been displaced by hundreds of thousands, and they live in very precarious conditions.  We want to thank the – we count on the pressure and the support of the United States.

I note (inaudible) climate change and the struggle of the entire world against climate change.  And the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a solution country, but unfortunately we’re not sufficiently supported.  You’ve just give us your condolences for the tragedy in Kinshasa last night.  Thank you for your condolences.  But this is the very example of what we have been regretting for some time, this support from countries who pollute and which unfortunately leads to negative consequences in our countries that cannot protect themselves from this.

I think we will talk also of the economic partnership of American investments, which are lagging, but I know that the U.S. are at the forefront of the processing of strategic products, strategic minerals, and the DRC has a lot of these minerals in the (inaudible).  And so we are ready to talk about this, talk about a win-win partnership with the possibility of transforming these minerals in the DRC to create a value chain which will lead to the creation of the – thousands and – of millions of jobs.  And this would be for the good of the people of the DRC and the United States, so we’re at a key time in the history of our two countries, and I could add two continents because it’s the whole of Africa which is represented here.  And I hope that we will leave Washington with excellent resolutions.  Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for welcoming us here.