President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged leaders of the regional grouping, ICGLR (International Conference on the Great Lakes Region), to do everything in their power to secure peace and stability.
“I am confident that if we remain one in our aims and our actions, we will ensure peace across the region”, President Kenyatta told the ICGLR’s sixth gathering of Heads of State and Government in the Angolan capital, Luanda.
The ICGLR is a regional inter-governmental organisation whose 12 member states are Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Angola, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Sudan and Zambia. A number of them have faced conflict and instability in recent years.
President Kenyatta said the ICGLR and its leaders held the key to sustainable peace in the region, but only if all its members committed to playing their role effectively in present efforts to restore normalcy in areas of conflict.
The ICGLR is chaired by Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. The Presidents of Kenya, Uganda, Congo Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Africa attended the Summit; vice Presidents or Foreign Ministers represented other member nations.
Giving an overview of the security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Burundi, President Kenyatta appreciated the renewed collaboration and support from international partners in regional peace efforts.
He also reprimanded the groups that continue to commit atrocities and create instability in the region, and said that the ICGLR should look to harmonise its efforts with those of others, such as the initiative led by former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa on Burundi, to ensure a quicker return to peace.
On South Sudan, President Kenyatta urged the ICGLR member states and the international community to give unequivocal support to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) to ensure enforcement of recent agreements.
He called on the principals and parties who had signed an agreement to resolve the South Sudan conflict to implement it immediately.
“I ask them to stay the path of implementation,” the President said.
President Kenyatta said the situation in Burundi remained a concern and urged all stakeholders to respond positively to efforts aimed at restoring peace.
“Burundi is an integral part of our community, and its people have endured long enough; it is time that it returned to peace, and took its rightful place among the nations of this region,” he said.
On youth development, President Kenyatta stated that the establishment in Nairobi of an ICGLR multi-functional youth secretariat is at advanced stage.
He said the stability and prosperity of the continent depends on youth empowerment.
ICGLR members asked President dos Santos to continue as chair until 2018. The Angolan leader was delighted by the decision, but urged member countries to pay their subscriptions and meet their other diplomatic obligations.
“For this reason, there must exist a proper functioning of the organisational structures of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Conference on the Great Lakes Region. It is also important that all member states make efforts to pay their dues to enable the organisation deliver on its mandate,” said the Angolan President.
The agenda of the summit included the election of the new Executive Secretary, an evaluation of Angola’s performance during its tenure, and the examination of the security situation in the region with particular focus on the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Burundi.