African lead­ers meet to push Congo peace

Viet Nam News - - World -

A IS A A A — Lead­ers from Africa’s Great Lakes re­gion met yes­ter­day to push peace ef­forts in volatile eastern Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, gath­er­ing for the first time since sign­ing a deal in Fe­bru­ary aimed at end­ing the con­flict in the re­gion.

The heads of state, meet­ing along with United Na­tions chief Ban Ki-moon on the side­lines of an African Union sum­mit in the Ethiopian cap­i­tal, spoke op­ti­misti­cally about on­go­ing ef­forts de­spite a fresh out­break of vi­o­lence this week be­tween Con­golese troops and the M23 rebels.

“ A lot of progress has been made, ” Tanzanian Pres­i­dent Jakaya Kik­wete said af­ter the meet­ing, with­out giv­ing fur­ther de­tails. on pa­per must be en­acted on the ground.

“ We will need the test of im­ple­men­ta­tion,” said Ban, who vis­ited the flash­point Con­golese town of Goma last week as part of a re­gional tour.

Last­ing peace was only pos­si­ble “if all the sig­na­tory coun­tries work to­gether to end the po­lit­i­cal im­passe and gen­er­ate new mo­men­tum to­wards hu­man se­cu­rity and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment ” , he added.

DR Congo Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila also at­tended the meet­ing, as well as Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Uganda’s Yow­eri Mu­sev­eni.

Both Rwanda and Uganda have been ac­cused by the UN of back­ing the M23 fight­ers, a claim they deny.

South Africa’s For­eign Min­is­ter Maite Nkoana-Masha­bane said the lead­ers had agreed de­vel­op­ment was needed along­side mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion.

“All lead­ers in the room agreed that the way for­ward is con­tin­u­ous po­lit­i­cal en­gage­ment, be­cause no amount of in­ter­ven­tions will take the place of po­lit­i­cal co­he­sion, “ she said.

The UN spe­cial en­voy for the Great Lakes, for­mer Ir­ish pres­i­dent and renowned rights ac­tivist Mary Robin­son, also joined the talks.

The M23 re­bel­lion launched by Tutsi for­mer soldiers who mu­tinied in April 2012 is the lat­est in years of vi­o­lence that have rav­aged the vast cen­tral African coun­try ’ s min­er­al­rich east. — A P

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