African leaders meet to push Congo peace
A IS A A A Leaders from Africas 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 Rwandas Paul Kagame and Ugandas Yoweri Museveni.
Both Rwanda and Uganda have been accused by the UN of backing the M23 fighters, a claim they deny.
South Africas 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