Today, following a Security Council meeting, Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations commented on the mass rapes and attacks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ambassador Rice said:
"I just want to take this opportunity to reiterate from the U.S. point of view our strongest possible condemnation of the rapes and attacks that occurred against scores of innocent civilians. We are horrified, and we are outraged, and that led us, in conjunction with the French, to request this detailed briefing this morning.
"It was a disturbing briefing, both for what we learned and what we don't know still. We are pleased that the Council swiftly and without any difficulty issued the statement that you've heard Ambassador Churkin deliver.
"But the fact is that many questions were posed, some very poignant questions, including by me and others. The Secretariat was clear in acknowledging that things did not occur as they should have, but we await answers from Assistant Secretary-General Khare and Margaret Wallstrom as to what was the actual sequence of events, where there may have been shortcomings in processes and procedures, and what steps can be taken going forward to ensure more effective, real time, advanced communication of threats to the civilian population.
"I traveled with the Council last year to eastern Congo. We met with victims of rape in Goma, we went out to villages in North Kivu, and camps where, then MONUC, now MONUSCO, had in place processes and procedures, which we were told were designed to provide early warning and rapid response. We learned today that in many instances those procedures have worked; in this instance clearly they did not, and we need to know why and what mechanisms might be put in place to ensure that this type of horror is not repeated again and again."
Read the full transcript of Ambassador Rice's remarks here.