Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield visited Kigali on September 2-3. She met with her Rwandan government counterparts to discuss issues of concern in the Great Lakes region, specifically the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. She also visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center to pay her respects to the victims who perished in the 1994 genocide. Following her two days in Kigali, the Assistant Secretary traveled to Kinshasa on September 3 where she met with U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo Russ Feingold, who was beginning his first trip to the region in his new capacity as part of a delegation that includes UN Special Envoy Mary Robinson, EU Senior Coordinator to the Great Lakes Region Koen Vervaeke, and AU Special Representative for the Great Lakes Boubacar Diarra. This visit to Rwanda and the DRC was Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s first official visit to a foreign nation in her new role as Assistant Secretary.
Her visit followed U.S. high-level phone calls to the Rwandan and DRC governments last week. Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield reiterated that the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework provides the best chance in decades to bring stability to the Great Lakes region through a comprehensive political and development process supported by the UN and the World Bank. She also urged Framework signatories to engage directly in a political process to diplomatically de-escalate the situation and address the underlying causes of conflict in the region and their legitimate security concerns.