2 January 2013

Central Africa: AU Official On Peace-Building Trip to Troubled Congolese Region

AU top security official Ramtane Lamamra was due in Kinshasa on Wednesday at the start of a visit to the troubled Eastern region of Congo and Rwanda to discuss the preparations for the deployment of a neutral force in the region.

During his two-day visit to Kinshasa, Lamamra, who is the Commissioner of Peace and Security, is expected to meet top officials to discuss the crisis in Eastern Congo, the AU Commission said in a statement Wednesday.

Rwanda is due to start its new term as the African representative at the UN Security Council, amid accusations from some UN that Kigali was providing logistical support to the M23 rebels, who recently seized the town of Goma, the eastern provincial capital.

"While in the DRC, the Commissioner will visit Goma. In Kigali, discussions will also include an exchange of views on how best Rwanda can help in furthering the AU peace and security agenda in its new capacity as a non-permanent member of the Security Council," the AU said.

Lamamra is due to visit Kigali between Jan 4 and Jan 5y, after his visit to Kinshasa and Goma. The AU has been fast-tracking the deployment of an international force in Goma, made up of troops contributed by African countries.

AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is also planning to visit the region. Meanwhile, a ministerial meeting is due to open at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 8 January to discuss the deployment of the Neutral International Force (NIF). - NAN

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