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President Trump announced that U.S. troops will be sent to Gabon, in anticipation of “violent” demonstrations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) if and when the results of the December 30 presidential election are announced.
The announcement came in a Friday evening letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
Dear - Madam - Speaker
Dear Madam Speaker:
United States Armed Forces personnel have deployed to Libreville, Gabon, to be in position to support the security of United States citizens, personnel, and diplomatic facilities in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. This deployment of approximately 80 personnel is in response to the possibility that violent demonstrations may occur in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in reaction to the December 30, 2018, elections there. The first of these personnel arrived in Gabon on January 2, 2019, with appropriate combat equipment and supported by military aircraft. Additional forces may deploy to Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or the Republic of the Congo, if necessary for these purposes. These deployed personnel will remain in the region until the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo becomes such that their presence is no longer needed.
Action - Responsibility - United - States - Home
This action was taken consistent with my responsibility to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of United States national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct United States foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.
I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148). I appreciate the support of the Congress in these actions.
Letter - US - Safety - Officials - Facilities
The letter indicates that the U.S. is concerned with the safety of American officials and facilities in Congo, not with the DRC electoral situation itself. A State Department travel warning was issued...
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