The former Nigerian leader and UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to the Great Lakes Region, Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that improved relations between Rwanda and the DRC could mark the end of Africa’s Great Lakes war.
Addressing UN Security Council review session on the Great Lakes yesterday, Obasanjo said that improved ties will alter the situation in the region and spur socio-economic development.
“If there is anything that gives me hope for the future, it is the rapprochement between the DRC and Rwanda, and between Presidents (Joseph) Kabila and (Paul) Kagame,” said Olusegun in his speech that was published on the UN website.
He noted as key developments, the historic talks between the two Heads of State held in Goma in August which mainly focused on economic cooperation to develop energy resources in Lake Kivu and the restoration of diplomatic ties through exchange of ambassadors that took place recently.
He also highlighted the importance of the joint operation by the armies of the two countries as well as the latest UN-backed Kimia II military operations against the FDLR rebels.
He noted that Kimia II has achieved “reasonable success” and urged that the Congolese army continues to receive support for the continuation of the operation in South Kivu.
“While we should not downplay the humanitarian consequences of those operations, it is important that we continue to support the Congolese government in its resolve to rid the Kivus of the FDLR while encouraging the government to remain mindful of the protection of civilians,” Obasanjo said.
Months of negotiations, facilitated by Obasanjo and his co-mediator and African Union (AU) Special Envoy, Benjamin Mkapa, resulted in the March 23 signing of a peace agreements between the DRC Government, the CNDP and the other armed groups.