Parties to the regional security framework – the Tripartite-Plus Joint Commission, are yet to agree on the exact date to hold the next round of discussions, The New Times has learnt.
The Tripartite-Plus Joint Commission last met in Kigali on December 10, 2008 to review progress in eliminating the security threat posed by negative forces to the Great Lakes region operating within eastern DRC.
Since then, a lot has been happening, especially since the governments of Rwanda and DRC and the UN pulled off a joint military strategy to reduce the FDLR threat.
A similar campaign against Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels also entrenched in the DRC also carried out.
In their last meeting, commission member states; Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, the DRC, as well as the USA (as facilitators) had agreed to meet again in the DRC to assess progress on agreed actions.
Twelve months later, today, no similar meeting has been convened.
“It was difficult to get the right time when people (senior representatives from the four countries) would all be available – there are discussions now and the minister (Rwanda’s foreign minister) is being briefed and will discuss with her colleagues. It’s too early for us to give you anything concrete,” Ambassador Eugene Munyakayanza, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
Uganda’s Ambassador to Rwanda, Richard Kabonero, also said that much progress had been made and stressed that his country was ready for the next meeting.
“You know the next meeting was supposed to be held in Congo. Uganda is ready and it’s high time that we met – we have made tremendous progress,” Ambassador Kabonero said.
The Ugandan envoy stressed that the Tripartite-Plus framework is still imperative.
“The reason for the Tripartite-Plus was to deal with negative forces in the region and not all have gone away. I think there is still work to do,” he said.
US Ambassador Stuart Symington could not reveal much on the date and venue but stressed that the US remains committed to supporting and facilitating the process.
“We remain very interested in finding ways to continue the process. There has been remarkable progress driven by countries in the region and we will keep looking for ways to support the process,” Ambassador Symington said.