Congo’s new leader to meet Pompeo, senior officials in first U.S. visit: spokesman

March 26, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic Republic of Congo’s new President Felix Tshisekedi will visit Washington in early April to discuss strengthening economic and security ties, the State Department said on Tuesday.

Spokesman Robert Palladino said Tshisekedi will visit Washington from April 3 to 5 for meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other senior cabinet officials in the Trump administration.

It was 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.

He said efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in the violence-plagued eastern region of Congo would also be discussed.

The country’s Ebola epidemic has now exceeded 1,000 cases, according to the country’s health ministry, with a death toll of about 629 in the world’s second-worst ever outbreak.

Washington has imposed sanctions against senior officials for fraud and corruption in Congo’s Dec. 30 presidential election, won by Tshisekedi, 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.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton in Washington; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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