Rwanda: Prime Minister Ngirente in Burundi for EAC Summit

Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente on Tuesday, May 30, arrived in Bujumbura, Burundi, where he will attend the 21st Extraordinary East African Community (EAC) Heads of State Summit.

PM Dr. Ngirente arrives in Bujumbura, where he will be attending the 21st Extraordinary Summit of East African Community Heads of State. Office of the PM | Rwanda (@PrimatureRwanda) May 30, 2023

Burundi's President Evariste Ndayishimiye is the current chairperson of the EAC.

It is not yet clear what will be discussed during the Summit but the Prime Minister arrived in Bujumbura when the session of the Coordination Committee; 49th Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers, was underway there. The committee comprises EAC Permanent or Principal Secretaries responsible for regional cooperation.

Bujumbura, Burundi.Session of the Coordination Committee ; 49th Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers.The committee comprises of EAC Permanent/Principal Secretaries responsible for regional co-operation.@pmathuki @EACJCourt @EA_Bunge East African Community (@jumuiya) May 30, 2023

The last extraordinary summit of the EAC leaders also held in Bujumbura, on February 4, discussed the security crisis in eastern DR Congo, one of the bloc's seven partner states.

Earlier, on Monday, EAC army chiefs met in the same city to discuss the insecurity in eastern DR Congo. The military leaders met as the EAC regional force (EACRF) in DR Congo, comprising troops from Kenya, Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan, has secured areas vacated by the M23 rebels.

The regional force, however, has faced criticisms from the Congolese government. On May 13, deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, Christophe Lutundula, said the regional force sent to the country's conflict-ridden east "failed" to fight the M23, threatening that it might have to exit by the end of June.

According to a peace deal signed on November 23 in Luanda, the capital of Angola, the regional force would use force against the rebels only if they refused to withdraw.

Kinshasa maintains that the EAC force's mandate was 'unequivocally offensive,' which led to disagreements during the course of the more than five months the force has been in eastern DR Congo.

Lutundula's comments came after President Felix Tshisekedi, on May 9, while in Botswana, said that the EAC regional force would have to leave the Congolese territory in June when its mandate expires.

Eastern DR Congo is a vast region home to more than 130 foreign and local armed groups, which are responsible for numerous atrocities. Multiple interventions, including one of the United Nations' largest peacekeeping missions in the country, have failed to end decades of violence in the country.

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