Southern Africa: Guebuza Calls for Dialogue At SADC Summit

Maputo — Mozambican President Armando Guebuza declared in Dar es salaam on Saturday that it is through dialogue that consensus is sought, and that peace and stability are guaranteed between parties in conflict.

Guebuza, who is the current chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), was speaking at the opening of a one day SADC extraordinary summit held to discuss the peace and security issues facing the regional organization.

"It is through dialogue that we promote mutual trust between parties in conflict, which provides space for them to work together and make progress", Guebuza told heads of state and government or their representatives from all SADC's 15 member states (except Madagascar, which was suspended from the organization after the 2009 coup d'etat).

The summit was called to consider the crises, of varying levels of seriousness, in three countries – the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe and Madagascar. But the opening speeches concentrated overwhelmingly on the rebellion by the M23 movement in the eastern DRC.

Guebuza said that the political and security situation in the eastern Congo, and the immense suffering of the Congolese people made it imperative for all the relevant regional and international players to work together to ensure a sustainable peace.

"Dialogue and cooperation between the interested parties are crucial elements for us to be able to advance", said Guebuza. "The DRC also has a crucial role to play in meeting its own internal challenges".

Guebuza was optimistic that the activities undertaken by SADC and by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in seeking solutions to the Congolese crisis would bear fruit.

In addition to the SADC heads of state and government, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, the current ICGLR chairperson, is also attending the summit.

Speaking at the opening session, Museveni accused the regime of the late dictator of Congo (then Zaire), Mobutu Sese Seko of being the mentor of the Congolese crisis, because of his discrimination against certain ethnic groups, and because he followed a policy focused exclusively on Europe.

"This was the reason for Mobutu's downfall", declared Museveni.

"Fortunately the government of President Joseph Kabila does not have the same position".

Uganda and Rwanda have both been accused of involvement in the Congolese crisis, through alleged support for the M23 rebels.

After the summit, Guebuza will take part, on Sunday, in the celebrations of the 51st anniversary of Tanzanian independence.

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