DR Congo president attempts to strengthen relationship with U.S. visit

FILE - This Nov. 23, 2018, file photo shows Felix Tshisekedi of Congo's Union for Democracy and Social Progress opposition party, at a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya. Congo's Constitutional Court early Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, declared the election of Tshisekedi as president, rejecting challenges to the vote by runner-up Martin Fayulu, who had alleged fraud. Tshisekedi, son of the late, charismatic opposition leader Etienne, is now set to be inaugurated on Tuesday.(AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

Democratic Republic of Congo’s new President Felix Tshisekedi is in the United States this week on a mission to strengthen economic and security ties.

U.S. State Department Spokesman Robert Palladino said Tshisekedi has meetings with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other senior cabinet officials in the Trump administration.

It is not immediately clear whether he will meet with President Donald Trump.

“We share President Tshisekedi’s interest in developing a strong partnership between the United States and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Palladino told a briefing.

Mr. Tshisekedi’s visit comes as the U.S. and DR Congo spar over the outcome of December’s election.

The U.S. imposed sanctions against senior officials for fraud and corruption in Congo’s presidential election. Tshisekedi won the contest which led to Congo’s first ever transfer of power via the ballot box.

While the sanctions have targeted the country’s electoral commission chief and advisors, Washington has stopped short of calling into question the legitimacy of Tshisekedi’s victory.


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