Key highlights from EAC Summit on DR Congo

Key highlights from EAC Summit on DR Congo
Key highlights from EAC Summit on DR Congo

Africa-Press – Rwanda. During the third EAC Heads of State Conclave on DR Congo hosted, on Monday, June 20, by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, in Nairobi, Kenya, six regional leaders deliberated on the security situation in eastern DR Congo and on measures to promote peace, stability and developmentthere and wider region.

Besides their host, Kenyatta who is the EAC Summit Chairperson, others were Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda, DR Congo’s Félix Tshisekedi, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi and Salva Kiir of South Sudan. Tanzania’s Samia Suluhu Hassan was represented by her country’s High Commissioner to Kenya, John Stephen Simbachawene.

Here are the five main highlights from their meeting:

1. The leaders directed that an immediate ceasefire be enforced and cessation of hostilities commence immediately, including withdrawal [by the warring parties] from recently taken positions. In doing so, it is noted, the political process should be intensified by all parties in order to allow the Congolese citizens feel safe and secure and be able to pick up and continue their respective social, cultural and economic activities.

2. They agreed and reinforced that trust and confidence-building, cessation of hostilities, unconditional ceasefire, participation in the political processes in the country, prioritization and participation in the country’s development, citizenship, presence of foreign negative elements, fate of combatants during reintegration and status of refugees and internally displaced persons are among critical issues that require concerted, urgent and durable resolution.

3. The leaders also emphasized that all offensive language, hate speech, threats of genocide and other politically inciting language must cease and must be discouraged by all parties and that Congolese citizens must be encouraged to work together in order to stabilize eastern DR Congo for it to prosper.

4. The committed to contribute to reconciliation and lasting peace and determined to find a swift and lasting solution to the conflict in the DR Congo, particularly in the North Kivu, South Kivu as well as Ituri Provinces.

5. The leaders instructed that the earlier mulled regional force should, in cooperation with the Congolese forces, “seek to” stabilize and secure the peace in DR Congo. They, among other things, “accepted and adopted” the regional forces’ rules of engagement or the internal rules or directives that define the circumstances, conditions, degree, and manner in which the use of force, or actions which might be construed as provocative, may be applied.

Their meeting commenced with a detailed brief on the military track presented by Kenya’s Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Robert Kibochi.

Gen. Kibochi’s brief – honed in a meeting in Nairobi with colleagues from all EAC partner states, the previous day – defined the problem, highlighted the threat analysis, concept of operations, status of forces agreement, rules of engagement and other legal and technical regulations to facilitate the operationalization of the regional force and its various operational arms. The leaders accepted and adopted the concept of operations, status of forces agreement and rules of engagement as presented by the Chiefs of Defence Forces for “immediate implementation.”

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