Letters to Secretary Kerry on Appointment of U.S. Special Representative, October 7, 2013
October 7, 2013
Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
U.S. State Department
2201 C. Street
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Kerry:
As Chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo in each of the last two years and met with Bishop Nicolas Lola Djomo, President of the Bishops’ Conference of the Congo, and his staff to discuss the situation in the Congo. As a follow up to our discussions, enclosed you will find a letter from Bishop Djomo. I would like to join him in expressing appreciation for the appointment of Mr. Russell Feingold as the new United States Special Representative for the African Great Lakes region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Since the beginning of the crisis in the region, our two conferences of bishops have collaborated to bring peace to Congo. Together with Catholic Relief Services, our Conference has hosted numerous delegations from the Congo to the United States to engage the State Department, the National Security Council, and members of Congress. As Bishop Djomo mentioned, we worked with former Senators Feingold and Brownback to craft the Congo Conflict Minerals Act. Since then we have worked with the Securities and Exchange Commission to ensure that the regulations to implement the law were as rigorous as possible. This continues to be a high priority for the Bishops’ Conference.
Last June, Bishop Djomo, accompanied by USCCB and CRS staff, met with Acting Assistant Secretary of State Donald Yamamoto and his senior staff to discuss priority strategies to bring peace to the Congo and the region at large.
I support the priority issues as laid out in Bishop Djomo’s letter to you and urge you to give them due consideration. I want to assure you and Mr. Feingold of our strong support for his mission.
Most Reverend Richard E. Pates
Bishop of Des Moines
Chair, Committee on International Justice and Peace