2 January 2013

Congo-Kinshasa: African Union Seeks Rwanda Support On Peace, Security Agenda

Photo: Florian Lems/MSF
Mothers and their children at a feeding centre in Chad.

The African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security will be visiting DR Congo and Rwanda to discuss over peace and stability, exchange views on how best Rwanda can help furthering the AU peace and security agenda in its capacity as a new non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

The AU's official, Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra who will be visiting the two neighbouring countries with effect from 2 to 3 and 4 to 5 2013 respectively; is scheduled to meet high-level officials with whom he will discuss the situation in the Great Lakes and efforts to foster peace, security and stability in the Region.

The Eastern Congo dispute is expected to be one of major issues that the meeting will focus on, as the AU official will also pay a visit to Goma; considering the long term presence of armed rebel groups in the DR Congo East; including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) Raia Mtomboki and M23 among many others causing the instability.

Prior to the AU Commissioner's visit, On Monday 31st December 2012 while Rwanda had few hours before taking the UN's most crucial body, the UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on the M23 and FDLR rebel groups in an attempt to combat the DR Congo conflict particularly in the eastern part.

While the Council took the decision, U.S. Ambassador to the Council Susan Rice welcomed the unanimous agreement saying the United States believes the new sanctions "will directly help advance the goal of a sustainable peace" in eastern Congo.

She called the sanctions against the FLDR "a critical step toward ending impunity and advancing peace," noting that for years the FDLR has committed atrocities against civilians.

Ambassador Lamamra's mission precedes the visit that the Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma intends to undertake to the Region, as part of AU's efforts to address the crisis in the eastern part of the DRC and in support of the initiatives of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

Following the consultation that took place at the AU Headquarters, on 27 and 28 December 2012; the AU Commission has set to summon a ministerial-level meeting on 8 January 2013 in Addis Ababa. The scheduled meeting is for the deployment of the envisaged Neutral International Force (NIF) in the eastern part of the DRC and the enhancement of the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM)

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