Great Lakes leaders met in Uganda on Saturday on ensuring peace in the east of the country.
A summit of leaders of the 11-member International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) that was hosted by Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, ended in the capital, Kampala on Saturday September 8 without any appreciable progress. The summit was called to find ways and means of restoring peace to some eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The AFP news agency quoted the Heads of State and government as saying in a statement that only the Neutral International Force would be deployed under the mandate of the African Union and the United Nations to stop the activities of rebel groups. The ICGLR also agreed that regional Defence Ministers should meet immediately to make the force operational within three months, Press TV reported.
The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, announced he will host a high level meeting of leaders of the Great Lakes region on the conflict on September 27 in New York, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, The Standard newspaper said.
Only a third of invited leaders attended the summit, including DRC President, Joseph Kabila, Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete, and South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda was represented by his Defence and Foreign Ministers. President Museveni called for quick action, saying the humanitarian crisis in eastern DRC was worsening each day, the Sunday Nation newspaper said. According to President Kikwete, the Great Lakes region should be on the forefront of seeking solutions to the problems of DRC and outside help should be viewed as a boost.
Last July, Presidents Kabila and Kagame, along with other leaders from the region, signed an accord on the creation of a neutral international military force to combat rebels in the North Kivu and South Kivu Provinces in eastern Congo. The agreement calls for Great Lakes leaders to work with the African Union and the United Nations for the immediate establishment of a 4,000-strong neutral international force. Congo and Rwanda have repeatedly exchanged accusations concerning the support of rebel groups in each other's territory.