Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) today delivered a statement at a Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing entitled “Resolving the Political Crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

Below is Chairman Royce’s statement (as prepared for delivery) at the hearing:

“Thank you Chairman Smith for convening this important hearing today. I appreciate your efforts, and the efforts of Ranking Member Bass, to maintain focus on the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Yesterday we had the opportunity to hear from our Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley. Her recent trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo came at a pivotal moment, and her message was clear. The Kabila government must hold elections before the end of 2018, or the U.S. will withdraw our support.

The good news is, we finally have an election calendar. I welcome this announcement. The Congolese people must freely choose their next leader. The U.S. and international community must demand that President Kabila respect the constitution and steps down. The calendar provides dates and tangible milestones to measure progress toward the December 2018 election. I look forward to working with the State Department and others in the administration to monitor this progress. If deemed insufficient, we must use every tool we have to pressure this government.

If we do not address the political instability, the violence and unrest across the country will only escalate. Over a million people have fled the DRC to escape the violence, and millions more are internally displaced living in camps. The humanitarian situation is dire, and warrants immediate attention. Too many Congolese are suffering.

I look forward to hearing the witness testimony. Again, thank you for calling this hearing.”