We will spare no effort to end DRC war, leaders vow
East African Community (EAC) Heads of State yesterday called for concerted efforts to end the hostility in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Speaking during the Third Inter-Congolese Dialogue in Nairobi yesterday, the leaders said peace in DRC would contribute to the prosperity of the region.
Kenya’s President William Ruto said his government had invested in the destiny of the region.
“Our region is united by a common yearning for peace, hope for unity, a quest for opportunity and desire for shared prosperity. It is our duty to actualise these aspirations by participating in frameworks that enhance our collective prospects of peace, security and social and economic progress,” he said.
He assured President Felix Tshisekedi, DRC nationals, the EAC region and the African continent of Kenya’s determination to restore peace in the troubled nation.
“You are not alone. The inescapable part of geography ties us together in East Africa like Siamese twins,” he said.
He said the shared values at the foundation of the East Africa Community also anchor the strong bonds connecting the nations and people of the region.
“We have taken a decisive position as Heads of State of the EAC, to do everything possible to find a lasting peaceful solution to this conflict; and we will not relent. We shall seize every opportunity that comes our way to collaborate in enhancing our capacity for transformative collective action. Towards this end, we shall seek to enhance our bonds of fraternity, purposive friendship and strategic cooperation for the mutual benefit of our peoples.”
President Ruto referred to the talks as the assignment of a lifetime for EAC member states.
“While other countries are holding huge conferences to discuss trade and investment, our people are in tents because of the conflict. This must end,” said Ruto.
Commending his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta for his role in leading the peace process, Ruto said he was encouraged by the commitment made by negotiations and the peace process.
“It’s important that we also appreciate the role played by Uhuru Kenyatta as Chief Facilitator of the Nairobi process. Mr President, I salute your credentials as you champion peace in our region,” said Ruto.
The former President said he looked forward to opportunities that will enable the region to continue working closely to enhance and strengthen bonds of purposeful friendship and strategic cooperation for the mutual benefit of all citizens of East Africa.
“Having been to Goma and listening to stories of the suffering that people have gone through for a long, I’m more convinced that no effort should be spared in bringing peace and stability to the Eastern side of DRC,” said Uhuru.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame, his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni and representatives of the governments of Tanzania and South Sudan attended the meeting virtually.
Addressing the participants via video link, Kagame said the conflict in the Eastern DRC can be resolved if the peace process gets to the root causes.
Kagame argued that the decades-long conflict was a result of unimplemented past agreements initiated to facilitate peace in the mineral-rich region.
“I would like to express my appreciation to President William Ruto and the East African facilitator former President Uhuru Kenyatta for dedicating sufficient time and energy to this problem, which has a complicated and long history but is nonetheless solvable. I most sincerely believe that these efforts are going to bear good results,” he said.
Also in attendance was United Nations (UN) Secretary General’s special envoy to the Great Lakes region Huang Xia and observers from the African Union, UN and diplomats.
This was the first time President Ruto and his predecessor Uhuru shared a platform since the former’s swearing-in ceremony on September 13.
During the inauguration, Ruto announced that Uhuru had agreed to continue championing the regional peace process.
“On peace initiative in our region, in Ethiopia and the Great Lakes region, I have asked my elder brother President Uhuru Kenyatta who has done commendable engagement with those regions and he has graciously agreed to continue chairing those discussions,” Ruto said during his inauguration.
Nairobi III comes after Uhuru’s visit to Bujumbura on November 8 where he met with Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye, who is also the chairperson of the East African Community Summit.
Uhuru attended the Mini-Summit (Luanda II) on Peace and Security in the Eastern Region of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Luanda, Angola on November 23 chaired by Angola President João Lourenco.