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Risch, Menendez Lead Colleagues in Encouraging Administration to Press for Structural Reform in DRC

BOISE, Idaho – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Chris Coons (D-Del.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), today sent a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo encouraging the administration to use this historic opportunity to help address structural challenges in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to curb high-level corruption and end systematic violence against the Congolese people.

“The United States has a historic opportunity to help address structural challenges in DRC by working with partners to build strong democratic institutions with particular emphasis on those that combat corruption and build the rule of law,” wrote the members. “In particular, U.S. efforts should focus on dismantling the kleptocratic system of former President Kabila such that DRC’s vast natural wealth benefits the Congolese people. Without tackling corruption and its impact on governance issues, from violent conflict to elections and human rights, this brief moment of promise will be lost to the same forces that have contributed to a history of exploitation in DRC.”

“If the Tshisekedi administration can demonstrate progress in  countering corruption and advancing reforms to meet the needs of the Congolese people, it will weaken the predatory system that has plagued the country and left too many of its citizens living in poverty and vulnerable to violence,” the members continued. “We look forward to working with you to support a reformed governance system in DRC that prioritizes the well-being of the Congolese people.”

The letter encourages the Departments of Treasury and State to work together to:

  • Advance electoral reform.
  • Expand targeted sanctions.
  • Undertake anti-money laundering measures.
  • Make anti-corruption reforms a condition of International Monetary Fund non-emergency lending.
  • Address conflict gold.

Full text of the letter can be found here.