The United States established diplomatic relations with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.) in 1960, following its independence from Belgium. Post-independence, the country saw a mix of unrest and rebellion, secession, dictatorships, armed conflict, and neighboring countries controlling parts of the D.R.C.'s territory. The country was the battle ground for the African World War (1997-2003) during which time nine African countries fought over the D.R.C’s resources, causing the deaths of upwards of five million Congolese. Following the 2001 assassination of the country's president, a United Nations peacekeeping mission deployed throughout the country, and a transitional government took office in 2003. The D.R.C. held multiparty elections in 2006 and 2011.
Regional stability and security is dependent on durable peace in the D.R.C., due to the country's size, resources and its location bordering nine nations. The D.R.C. faces challenges that include inadequate infrastructure and human resources, the government’s inability to project its authority throughout the country, rampant corruption, a limited capacity to raise and manage revenues, and the destabilizing presence of armed groups, particularly in eastern D.R.C.
U.S. relations with the D.R.C. are strong. U.S. foreign policy in the D.R.C. is focused on helping the country become a nation that is stable and democratic, at peace with its neighbors, extends state authority across its territory, and provides for the basic needs of its citizens. U.S. policy is also focused on the regional implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement, signed in February by the D.R.C. and ten other countries in the region. The U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes and the D.R.C. leads U.S. engagement in the Framework peace process, which is aimed at resolving the root cause of conflict and instability in the region. The United States is the largest donor to the United Nations stabilization mission in the D.R.C.