Nairobi Summit takes tough stand on DR Congo conflict

• Calls for immediate implementation of previous accords A one-day regional Summit called hurriedly to address the current insecurity in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), ended Friday with a call for tougher measures to end the conflict. The meeting held in Nairobi was attended by seven regional Heads of State and other international figures.

• Calls for immediate implementation of previous accords

A one-day regional Summit called hurriedly to address the current insecurity in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), ended Friday with a call for tougher measures to end the conflict. The meeting held in Nairobi was attended by seven regional Heads of State and other international figures.

The Presidents of Uganda, DRC, Burundi, Tanzania, Congo Brazzaville and Rwanda were in attendance as well as UN secretary General, Ban ki-Moon and the  Secretary General of the African Union, Jean Ping.

President Paul Kagame briefed the Summit that the problem of the FDLR had gone beyond being the sole concern of the DRC and Rwanda saying that the international community should be more involved.

Participants welcomed the outcome of the meeting saying that it had at least stressed the importance of implementing earlier agreements immediately, especially the Nairobi Communiqué of November 2007 which called on the DRC to disarm and repatriate rebels of the Democratic Front for the Liberation o Rwanda (FDLR).

The FDLR are remnants of the defeated former Rwandan army (ex-FAR) and Interahamwe militia responsible for the 1994 Genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda which claimed the lives of over one million people.

Among the Heads of State who strongly called for the immediate disarmament of the FDLR was Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete who called for the establishment of a group to review past agreements.

The Summit named two former African Presidents; Nigerian Olesegun Obasanjo and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, to be facilitators of the implementation of previous agreements.

A joint statement read at the end of the Summit called for an immediate ceasefire, strengthening of the mandate of UN peacekeepers, and warned that the Great Lakes Region would not sit by as armed groups caused havoc to innocent civilians, and that “If and when necessary” it would send peacekeeping forces in the war-torn Kivu Province.

The Summit, most of which was held behind doors, was also attended by US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, UK Minister for Africa, Lord Malloch-Brown, French Minister of State for Cooperation and Francophonie, Alain Joyandet, Bert Koenders, Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation and Louis Michel, EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.

While South Africa, Zambia and Sudan sent high powered delegations.

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