DR Congo: senior UN envoy begins visit to bolster regional peace efforts

Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region Mary Robinson. Photo: MONUSCO

25 November 2013 – The senior United Nations official for the Great Lakes region of Africa has begun a week-long mission to help shore up peace efforts, visiting Tanzania, Rwanda, the Republic of Congo, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, Mary Robinson, will focus on the immediate priority of the so-called Kampala dialogue in the Ugandan capital, where the M23 rebel group and the DRC Government failed to reach agreement earlier this month.

She will also seek to foster progress in implementing the broader commitments of the 11-nation Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region, which she has called “a framework of hope”.

“Developments over the past month have brought renewed hope to people in the eastern DRC,” Mrs. Robinson said. “Further efforts are needed to ensure that the country is rid of all negative forces and security is re-established sustainably. Progress on the larger political agenda is now urgently needed, as well.

“We must work to restore trust and take the steps that are needed to resolve the underlying causes of conflict and instability to the region.”

The eastern DRC has been wracked by fighting between the Government and various armed groups for many years, the latest being the M23, composed of soldiers who mutinied from the DRC national army (FARDC) in April.

In the past year, the fighting has displaced more than 100,000 people, exacerbating an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region which includes 2.6 million internally displaced persons and 6.4 million in need of food and emergency aid.

Mrs. Robinson began her tour in Tanzania, a framework signatory, meeting today with President Jakaya Kikwete and other officials in Dar es Salaam on the need to enhance cooperation and sustained political dialogue among PSC signatories.

Tomorrow she will visit Rwanda for talks with top officials on concluding the Kampala Dialogue and implementing the Framework, and then fly on to the Republic of Congo. On 27-29 November, she will visit the DRC, including Kinshasa, the capital, and Goma, the main city in the vast country’s east.

On 30 November, she will attend the East African Community (EAC) Summit of Heads of States in Kampala, where she intends to mobilise international support for regional organizations as part of the broader PSC Framework agenda for enhanced regional integration.

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