Members of Congress call for heightened diplomacy from President Obama
This week, 78 Members of Congress from both political parties sent a letter to President Obama calling for a more effective diplomatic strategy to accompany other ongoing US and regional efforts to end LRA atrocities. The letter was issued as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton embarked on a seven-nation trip to Africa that includes a stop in Uganda.
Spurred to action by phone calls and letters from activists in support of the KONY 2012 campaign, the Members of Congress first welcomed current US engagement in the region, including the President’s deployment of military advisers to help track down LRA commanders and protect civilians, but said further steps are needed.
“What is sorely lacking, however, is robust regional coordination… We remain concerned that lack of cross-border cooperation between the countries affected by the LRA is jeopardizing the ability of the US advisers to achieve their mission,” they wrote.
As Resolve has reported, the failure of regional governments to cooperate in addressing the LRA’s cross-border movements is undermining efforts to protect civilians from the group’s violence. This breakdown has contributed to a serious escalation of LRA attacks on vulnerable communities over the first six months of 2012. Yet proactive engagement from President Obama to address this shortcoming has been absent.
The Members of Congress called for the President to convene a discussion with leaders from each of the LRA-affected countries.”To alter this dynamic, we urge you to work with the African Union and United Nations to convene a meeting with the heads of state of LRA-affected countries at the upcoming UN General Assembly,” the letter said. Resolve joined partner groups in issuing the same call last week.
The letter was led by Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Ed Royce (R-CA), who issued a statement upon its release. Notably, the letter was also signed by a number of influential leaders in Congress, including Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Howard Berman (D-CA), the top Democrat on the Committee, Chris Smith (R-NJ), the Chair of the Africa Subcommittee, and Adam Smith (D-WA), the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.