US Senate Committee Holds Hearing for 3 Women Nominated to African Ambassador Posts

VOA FILE – The US Capitol dome is seen on Capitol Hill, June 12, 2019. (AP)

WASHINGTON — Three career diplomats in the U.S. Foreign Service answered questions Wednesday from senators during a hearing examining their credentials to lead U.S. diplomatic missions in Africa. If confirmed, three of the toughest diplomatic missions abroad will be led by women, who told the lawmakers that serving on the diplomatic front lines is a privilege and that they are committed to doing what they can to further peace and prosperity in the region.

Lucy Tamlyn, who currently heads the U.S. diplomatic mission in Sudan as chargé d’affaires, may soon head south to the Democratic Republic of Congo to serve as ambassador. The DRC is the largest country, by size, in sub-Saharan Africa.

In her testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tamlyn described the DRC as a country of enormous size, complexity, and promise, and said “the DRC’s dynamic, entrepreneurial, and creative population of over 100 million are eager to engage with the United States.”

Senator Chris Van Hollen, a member of both Foreign Relations and the Appropriations Committee, which has authority over U.S. foreign aid, pointed to the challenges awaiting Tamlyn at the hearing.

“The DRC is an incredibly complicated place with all sorts of rivalries and conflict, especially in the East. My question for you is: what do you think is at the heart of those conflicts and what do you think you can do as U.S. ambassador to try to address them in the long-term interest of stability in the DRC?” Van Hollen, himself the son of a career U.S. Foreign Service officer, asked.

A lack of governance, coupled with the possession of vast natural resources formed the basis of some of most entrenching challenges the DRC has faced, Tamlyn said in response to Van Hollen’s question.

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