Newspaper article International New York Times

U.S. Urges Congo Leader Not to Maneuver for 3rd Term

Newspaper article International New York Times

U.S. Urges Congo Leader Not to Maneuver for 3rd Term

Article excerpt

There has been speculation among the political opposition that President Joseph Kabila might seek to have the Constitution amended so that he could run for a third term in office.

Secretary of State John Kerry urged the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday to respect his nation's Constitution and not run for another term in 2016.

There has been speculation among the political opposition that President Joseph Kabila, who has been in office since 2001, might seek to have the Constitution amended so that he could run for a third term in office.

"Clearly, the United States believes that a country is strengthened, that people have respect for their nation and their government, when a constitutional process is properly implemented and upheld by that government," Mr. Kerry said. "He has an opportunity, which he understands, to be able to put the country on a continued path to democracy."

Mr. Kabila had no comment on Mr. Kerry's appeal and has not said whether he might seek to have the Constitution changed.

Mr. Kerry, who has promoted the importance of democratic values during a swing through Africa, met Sunday morning with Mr. Kabila at his white marble presidential palace to discuss political and security issues.

One of chief rebel groups that Mr. Kabila has faced, the M23 militia, ordered its fighters to lay down their arms last year in an agreement signed in December in Nairobi after suffering a series of military setbacks and after Rwanda, under pressure from the United States, curtailed its support for the group.

But some 2,000 members of the group fled to Rwanda and Uganda. Congo wants them to return so that it can either reintegrate them into the government under an amnesty or try some for war crimes. A senior State Department official traveling with Mr. Kerry asserted that Rwanda and Uganda still supported their return but that Mr. Kabila's government had been slow to carry out the agreement.

The United States also wants Mr. Kabila to pursue the Allied Democratic Force, a militia that originated in Uganda, and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, known as the F. …

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