President Bush Praises, Offers Help to Embattled Congo Leader

Philip says that while there have been some positive developments for the country, such as a new constitution and the establisment of more stable security, there has been "no progress on respect of human rights, in terms of either the conduct of the state security forces or in terms of the fact that we still have a risk of a renewal of ethnic atrocities."

Several of the rebel groups have deep ties to ethnic Tutsis and Hutus in both Rwanda and Uganda, a spillover from the 1994 genocide. "The relations between the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda are still incredibly fragile," says Philip. "You're not going to have security in the region until issues of human rights abused are dealt with."

He thinks the Bush administration should press Kabila's government to begin "weeding out" those who continue to commit abuses.

"How are you going to demonstrate to the Congo people that you intend to draw a line under past abuses and demonstrate the government and country is now ready to move to a country that has respect for human rights and justice if you don't start to investigate those crimes," he says.

Johndroe said that while he didn't think Bush and Kabila discussed the issue of human rights this morning, the United States is involved in training security and staff officers for the country, having trained about 300 so far, and respect for human rights is a part of the training.

"When the United States is involved in training forces overseas that's part of training involves human rights training to make sure the army and the armed forces respect the human rights of the people they are there to protect."

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