Panafrican News Agency

UN chief lauds East African leaders' steps for peace, stability in DRC

New York, US (PANA) - The UN Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, has welcomed the efforts of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, and other Eastern African leaders to promote peace, stability and development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the greater East African region.

A statement issued by Eri Kaneko, Associate Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, said the UN chief commended the leaders of the region for their determination in working towards these objectives.

"The Secretary-General notes the two-track approach decided by the Heads of State Conclave, including the formation of a regional force and the revamping of an inclusive political process," the statement said.

Mr. Guterres emphasized the need for effective coordination between the regional force and UN peacekeepers, MONUSCO, which is essential to ensure the protection of civilians.

The statement said he urged all local armed groups in the DRC to participate unconditionally in the political process, and all foreign armed groups to disarm and return unconditionally and immediately to their respective countries of origin. 

The Secretary-General stressed the importance of a comprehensive strategy to address the root causes of the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, including non-military measures, and the effective implementation of existing transitional justice and DDRR/R programmes. 

Mr. Guterres called for "a continued, frank and open dialogue among all stakeholders" with a view to resolving tensions and strengthening trust and confidence.

He reaffirmed that the United Nations would continue to support the countries of the region in longer-term peacebuilding efforts aimed at achieving accountability and consolidating peace and security gains.

East African leaders, at their Summit last week on the armed conflict in eastern DRC, decided to deploy a special armed force to the troubled area and also declared the start of peace talks to end the conflict in the troubled region.

The East African leaders welcomed bilateral interlocutors such the United States and France to join in as observers to the peace talks.

The leaders committed to progress the work of the meeting along two tracks: political and military and security enforcement.

On the political track, the meeting agreed that a political process be commenced under the leadership of President Kenyatta to facilitate consultations to be undertaken between the DRC and local armed groups in the DRC.

Further to the outcome of the first Heads of State Conclave, the meeting recalled that a consultative dialogue between the President of the DRC and the representatives of local armed groups in the DRC was to take place at the earliest possible time.

The President of the DRC will chair such a consultative meeting on 22 April, 2022 in Nairobi.

On the military and security enforcement track, the leaders agreed to accelerate the establishment of a regional force to help contain and, where necessary, fight the negative forces.

The meeting directed the urgent deployment of such a force and said that planning should commence with immediate effect with the full consultation of relevant authorities in the region.

The leaders directed all armed groups in the DRC to participate unconditionally in the political process to resolve their grievances.

The Summit warned that failure to do so, all Congolese Armed groups would be considered as negative forces and handled militarily by the region.

The Summit resolved that all foreign armed groups in the DRC must disarm and return unconditionally and immediately to their respective countries of origin.

-0- PANA MA 24April2022