U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Congo's government must do
more to address the problem of sexual violence in the country's
In a speech to university students in Kinshasa, Secretary Clinton said
she would press officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo to stop
women from being used as "weapons of war" in the country's east.
She also urged students to speak out against sexual violence and corruption in the country.
On Tuesday, Clinton is to visit Congo's eastern city of Goma, the
capital of the volatile North Kivu province, where both rebel groups
and the military have committed rapes against women as they fight over
the region's vast mineral wealth.
Clinton traveled to Congo from Angola, where she met with President
Jose Eduardo dos Santos. She said Mr. dos Santos is committed to
holding presidential elections in what she called a "timely manner."
She did not give a specific timetable.
Angola has not held a presidential election in nearly two decades, in
part because of a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002. Mr. dos Santos
has been in power for 30 years. A presidential election is due this
year, but officials have said it may be delayed until 2010 so it can be
held under the new constitution.
The secretary of state is in the middle of a seven-nation Africa tour
designed to promote democracy and development, and strengthen U.S. ties
to the continent.
In addition to Congo and Angola, the secretary of state has traveled to
Kenya and South Africa. After Congo, she heads to Nigeria on Tuesday,
and makes stops in Liberia and Cape Verde before returning to
Washington later this week.