ADDIS ABABA - The Second Extra-ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region last Saturday welcomed the ongoing joint Rwanda-Congolese operation against FDLR rebels.
According to a joint communiqué by over 17 African countries, including 6 Heads of State.
The meeting was also attended by representatives from the UN, European countries and the US.
The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) which is composed of mainly perpetrators of 1994 Genocide against Tutsis, has unleashed a recurring cycle of instability in eastern Congo since the genocide.
The Summit held in Addis Ababa last Friday, noted that the joint operation had already produced positive results by uprooting the Ex-FAR/Interahamwe which is the main cause of insecurity in eastern DRC, Rwanda and the region.
The leaders commended the positive impact of the joint military operation, particularly; the removal of road blocks- enabling the free movement of persons, goods and services, thereby “enabling the free movement of persons, goods and services, thereby producing a conducive environment for the safe return of internally displaced persons in North Kivu.”
The Summit’s main focus was to check the progress and developments that have taken place in eastern DR Congo since their last meeting in Nairobi on November 7, last year.
It also recommended among other things the continuing bilateral engagements and the joint military operations against the militias.
The Heads of State also supported Uganda, Sudan, Central African Republic, and DRC joint operation against the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) in the framework of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region and the Protocol on Non-Aggression and Mutual Defence.
They hailed the role of MONUC in giving logistical support and provision of humanitarian assistance and protection of civilians, and to embark on a new Plan of Action taking in account the change of circumstance on the ground and in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1856 (2008).
Hundreds of FDLR hostages and their families have been repatriated back to Rwanda while several FDLR fighters have been killed since the offensive began last month.
The leaders reiterated their commitment to seek regionally led solutions to regional problems in the spirit of the principle of ownership, with support from the international community.
The meeting underlined a new direction to the peace process in DRCongo to consolidate the gains and developments that have been achieved recently, and to mandate the facilitators to take urgent actions with the aim of bringing the peace process to a conclusive and successful end.
They mandated the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee to address the fundamental root causes of insecurity in the region, including the disarmament, demobilisation, and the repatriation of armed groups.
The summit also mandated the facilitators, former presidents Olesegun Ogasanjo amd Benjamin Mkapa of Nigeria and Tanzania respectively, to continue facilitating the peace process between the parties with the view to resolving the outstanding political issues, resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons, integration of ex-combatants and reconciliation process.
The Summit was attended by Presidents Mwai Kibaki(Kenya) also Chair of the Great Lakes Region, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (Tanzania) Pierre Nkurunziza,(Burundi), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Hefikepunye Pohamba (Namibia) and Rupiah Banda (Zambia).
Others included Rosemary Museminali, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Rwanda, Dr Francis Archange Truadera, Prime Minister of the Central African Republic, Fernando Dos Santos, Speaker of the National Assembly of Angola, Alexis Thambwe Mwamba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Congo among others.