The New Times (Kigali)

31 October 2012

Congo-Kinshasa: Obasanjo - DRC Already Has Solution to Conflict

The solution to the crisis in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), lies with the government in Congo, Nigeria's former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has said.

Obasanjo made the remarks shortly after meeting President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro, yesterday. He is in the country for the seventh edition of the African Economic Conference that opened in Kigali on Tuesday.

The former Nigerian president and regional peace advocate pointed out that the DRC was given a set of resolutions to counter the conflict in its eastern region and should not expect anything different to work other than what is already available.

While fronting the region's effort to finding lasting solution, Obasanjo noted that more talks will not "reinvent the wheel" but rather that DRC must use the available recommendations as the best alternative to stopping violence in the central African country.

"Quite honestly, from what I know and see, I believe that if the recommendations we gave to DRC had been implemented faithfully, we could have seen a return to peace in eastern DRC," Obasanjo said.

Through the International Conference on the Great Lakes (ICGLR), high level regional officials from eleven member states came up with several resolutions for the stabilisation of Eastern DRC, including proposals for immediate disarmament of numerous militias operating in DRC, particularly the so called Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and M23.

Together with Benjamin Mkapa, former President of Tanzania, Obasanjo was in 2008 appointed by the UN as special envoy to DRC to investigate the root causes of violent conflict in DRC and find solutions for lasting peace.

This mandate was also upheld by the inter-ministerial meeting of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) held in Addis Ababa in July 2012.

"We have done our best to bring relative control to the problem in eastern DRC and should not think of reinventing the wheel. We have largely succeeded to bridge the gap between Rwanda and the DRC, to the extent that they (two countries) jointly mounted an operation to quell the rebellion there. Therefore, the solutions to the problems are already known," Obasanjo pointed out.

The joint operations that followed the 2009 agreement between the DRC Government and rebel groups saw eastern DRC enjoy spells of peace and stability.

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