High-profile Congo peace talks kick off in Kenya
Nov 29, 2022 - 06:09 AM
NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – Eastern Congo peace negotiations began in Kenya’s capital Nairobi on Monday at a high-profile summit attended by East African leaders.
The conflict in eastern Congo will only be resolved if the East African Community (EAC) focuses on the root causes, according to the leaders of the regional bloc.
Kenyan President William Ruto said that his country would not give up on bringing stability to Congo.
“Our (Kenyan) security and progress is dependent on that of the region. The pursuit of peace is thus an inevitable precondition for our prosperity. Kenya is committed to supporting the restoration of peace in eastern Congo,” Ruto said in his opening remarks.
Former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the facilitator of the talks, told the summit that “no effort should be spared in restoring peace and security in eastern Congo.”
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda proposed dealing with the problem of illegal guns in eastern Congo to end the conflict.
“These armed groups causing insecurity can be defeated if we harmonize efforts. We need to deal with the problem of illegal guns,” he said.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame said his country is committed to the peace process, adding that there is “a need to address the root cause of insecurity in eastern Congo once and for all.”
Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, for his part, called on other leaders from the region to help his country boost security for long-lasting peace.
“The time to change the narrative of Congo having protracted insecurity is now! We are committed to the EAC-led Nairobi process and long for peace, so we can rebuild the great Democratic Republic of Congo,” he said.
East African Community chair and Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye appealed to all partners to commit to supporting initiatives aimed at promoting peace and consolidating stability in the region.
The presidents of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania addressed the meeting virtually.
The inter-Congolese dialogue will run through Saturday and involve consultations among armed groups in eastern Congo, local community leaders, civil society, and other relevant stakeholders, with the aim of finding sustainable solutions to the security situation.