Maputo — PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has called for concerted efforts from member states to ensure the Southern African Development Community (SADC) enjoys peace and stability.
In his acceptance speech as new chairperson of the Troika Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Mr Kikwete committed himself to ensure the implementation of decisions of SADC policy structures to maintain peace and security in the region.
"There are many challenges ahead of us, but if all of us pull in the same direction we should be able to overcome them," said Mr Kikwete on Saturday during the winding up of the two-day SADC Heads of State and Government Summit.
He mentioned some of the challenges he will be tackling in his new role, as the political stalemate in Madagascar, the ongoing war in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as well as overseeing successful elections in Zimbabwe.
Mr Kikwete paid glowing tribute to his predecessor, South African President Jacob Zuma for having paved the way for his smooth take over of the Organ's responsibilities.
"Plenty of ground has already been covered by my predecessor and therefore I'm perhaps running the last miles of the race," said Mr Kikwete, stressing that however steep or tough the assignment proves to be , he won't be tired.
Meanwhile, SADC has urged Rwanda to stop immediately supporting a rebel group fighting government forces in DRC. "Rwanda's interference constitutes a threat to peace and stability, not only in the DRC, but also in the SADC region," said the SADC Executive Secretary Dr Tomaz Salomao here on Saturday when presenting the Final Communiqué of the 32nd Summit of SADC Heads of States and Government.
Dr Salomao said the Summit had noted with great concern the deteriorating security situation in the Eastern part of the DRC in the past three months, that has caused unnecessary loss of lives and property.
He said the situation has called for renewed and urgent attention by the Summit, which fielded an assessment mission to the DRC and endorsed a report of the Commission recommending appropriate action to address the crisis.
"The Summit further mandated the Chairperson of SADC (Mozambique's President Armando Guebuza) to undertake a mission to Rwanda to engage it in talks to stop the country's military assistance to the M-23," he said.
He added that the Summit directed the SADC secretariat to collaborate with the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region in pursuit of peace and security in the DRC.
The Summit received the Report of the outgoing chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, President Zuma and noted that the region remained peaceful and stable with the exception of political and security challenges in the DRC and Madagascar.
On Madagascar, Dr Salomao said the Summit reiterated its previous decision taken during the Luanda Summit last year and mandated the SADC mediator in coordination with the Troika Organ to intensify the dialogue with the main Malagasy political stakeholders to implement the road map in full and urgently take the necessary measures to ensure a favourable environment for free fair, and credible elections.
As regards Zimbabwe situation, the SADC boss said the Summit noted the progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and urged stakeholders to work together in particular on the constitution making process, which is about to be concluded.
The Summit also urged the European Union and the rest of the international community to lift all the sanctions against Zimbabwe unconditionally. On consolidation of democracy and good governance in the region, the Summit observed that member states must continue to adhere to the principles governing democratic elections.
Meanwhile, the Summit approved and signed three legal documents namely, Draft Agreement on Assistance in Tax Matters, Draft Protocal on Trade in Services and Draft Declaration on TB in the Mining Sector.