29 January 2013

Africa: SADC, Great Lakes Prioritise Military Stability

Addis Ababa (angop) — The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the Great Lakes region Monday in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) defended military stability as the priority for the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This was said by the Angolan secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Manuel Augusto, who added the position was defended on the last day of the 20th Summit of the African Union's Heads of State and Government held until Sunday in the Ethiopian capital.

He informed that the SADC and Great Lakes region countries decided to subscribe a proposal from the United Nations secretary general, Ban ki Moon, adopting economic, humanitarian, political and diplomatic measures and assigning about nine countries, including Angola, to join a mechanism to help settle the crisis in the DRC:

To the countries of the region, the first step is to stop the rebellion and the action of the "negative forces", before other matters contained in the UN secretary general's plan are considered.

According to Manuel Augusto, the new proposal constitutes a fissure in the Kampala process which set the need for the establishment of an international neutral force to help speed up the process of stabilisation in the DRC.

The force would comprise a SADC 4,000 men brigrade, under a joint initiative with the Great Lakes, deployed at the border between the DRC and Rwanda, in coordination with the UN forces in that country, aiming at rationalisation of existing logistic and financial means.

The UN secretary general wanted the document signed last Monday as a commitment, but some SADC and Great Lakes heads of states decided the document still needed improvements.

"It is not about divergence, but consultations that lead to the drafting of a document more in agreement with the reality," said the secretary of State who added that the consultations will continue.

He admitted that the UN secretary general's proposal does not run against the peace process signed in Kampala, as it is a global one and seeks to discuss the economic causes and the mobility of countries sharing a common border and is therefore a more comprehensive document for a long lasting solution.

Manuel Augusto explained that the military question is also attached in view of the need for a coordination with the UN forces.

"Let us be realistic. An operation in the DRC will cost much money and the member countries do not have this money and the UN is the appropriate forum for such a mission to be successful," he stressed.

He stated that there is no divergence with the UN, but there is a quest for a new framework that in fact meets the expectations.

According to him, teams comprising guest countries will be set up to work with the UN on a final version of the document.

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