The Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi on Wednesday hosted the long-awaited meeting for regional heads of state to address peace and security concerns as well as economic cooperation.
The Congolese leader had invited Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, Burundi's Evariste Ndayishimiye and Angola's Joao Lourenço for a mini-summit initially slated for September 17 in the eastern DRC city of Goma, North Kivu Province.
The meeting, however, failed to take off due to the constraints of Covid-19, the DRC authorities said. Burundi had also pulled out citing lack of preparedness and that it preferred bilateral talks.
On Tuesday, sources told The EastAfrican that a team of ministers from DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and Angola met in Goma. President Tshisekedi had also sent his Foreign Affairs minister Marie Ntumba Nzeza to Burundi on Sunday ahead of the presidents' meeting.
The virtual meeting, attended by all the regional presidents save for Ndayishimiye, has been held on the back of drawn-out diplomatic spats especially between Rwanda and Uganda, and Burundi that has led to restricted cross-border movements, hampering trade.
The Congolese government has said the leaders would address the challenges of armed groups roaming the common borders of DRC, Rwanda, and Burundi; the revival of economic activities in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and diplomatic and political relations.