Washington, DC - U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa Thomas Perriello departs today for an extended trip that will include stops in Brussels, Belgium; Rome, Italy; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Kigali, Rwanda; Bukavu, Goma, and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); Bujumbura, Burundi; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The trip is focused on supporting regional efforts to resolve the crisis in Burundi and to support upcoming elections in the DRC.

The U.S. Government strongly supports the regionally-mediated Burundian dialogue relaunched on December 28, 2015, and is urging all stakeholders to remain committed to the process without preconditions. An inclusive dialogue remains the best route for peacefully resolving the crisis in Burundi and restoring the stability achieved by the Arusha Agreement. The Special Envoy will engage with Burundian stakeholders and East African Community (EAC) leadership about next steps for advancing the dialogue, including moving the dialogue to Arusha, Tanzania.

The United States is committed to supporting the DRC in holding elections per the constitution. The Special Envoy will meet with Congolese stakeholders to discuss next steps in the electoral process and the importance of respecting human rights throughout an electoral cycle, including the rights to peacefully assemble and to free speech. While in the DRC, the Special Envoy will also continue to work to resolve the impasse over adoptions and engage with stakeholders working to counter the illegal trade in Congolese natural resources and promote conflict-free minerals.

The trip will culminate in Addis Ababa, where the Special Envoy will join the U.S. delegation to the African Union Summit.