President Museveni Thursday evening returned from the Kenyan capital Nairobi where he had gone for a one-day working visit at the invitation of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
While in Kenya, Museveni attended the 2nd Heads of State Conclave on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at State House Nairobi.
“We discussed matters regarding the peace, stability and development in the Eastern DRC and the Greater East African Region,” he said.
The Second Regional Heads of State Conclave on the Democratic Republic of Congo was hosted by His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and attended by His Excellency Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo; His Excellency Évariste Ndayishimiye, President of the Republic of Burundi; His Excellency Yoweri Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, and His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda represented by the Rwandan Foreign Minister.
The leaders took note of the situation in eastern DRC and of neighbouring countries. After fruitful discussions, held in a frank and cordial environment, and in order to promote peace, stability and development in the eastern DRC and the greater East African Region, the leaders also agreed as follows:
To invite the other leaders of the East African Community to join the conclave and to engage them in future sittings.
To welcome the participation, in observer status, of a representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Secretary-General of the ICGLR, the Secretary-General of the East African Community, as and when called upon to participate by the DRC.
To also welcome bilateral interlocutors such the United States and France in an observer status.
That a Secretariat be formed to oversee the implementation of the agreements arrived at the meeting.
The Secretariat will be administered by the Special Envoy in the Office of the President of the DRC, and the Special Envoy in the Office of the President of Kenya (the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya is designated to play this role ad interim) with the participation of representatives from the Executive Offices of the other Heads of State of the East African Community.
Further, the leaders committed to progress the work of the meeting along two tracks; The Political Track – The meeting agreed that a political process be commenced under the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya to facilitate consultations to be undertaken between the DRC and local armed groups in the DRC.
Further to the outcome of the first Heads of State Conclave, the meeting recalled that a consultative dialogue between the President of the DRC and the representatives of local armed groups in the DRC is to take place at the earliest possible time.
Consequently, the meeting was informed that the President of the DRC will chair such a consultative meeting on Friday, 22nd April, 2022. President Uhuru Kenyatta graciously agreed to host and provide logistical support for the consultations in Nairobi.
The meeting further agreed that the President of the DRC would subsequently inform his colleagues of the outcome of the consultations at the next sitting.
The Military/Security Enforcement Track – Pursuant to an agreement following the first Heads of State Conclave to accelerate the establishment of a regional force to help contain and, where necessary, fight the negative forces, the meeting directed the urgent deployment of such a force.
Towards this end, the meeting directed that planning for such a force commences with immediate effect with the full consultation of relevant authorities in the region.
To facilitate the implementation of the political and military/ security enforcement tracks the leaders also directed the following;
a) that all armed groups in the DRC participate unconditionally in the political process to resolve their grievances. That failure to do so, All Congolese Armed groups would be considered as negative forces and handled militarily by the region.
b) THAT all foreign armed groups in the DRC must disarm and return unconditionally and immediately to their respective countries of origin. That failure to do so these groups would be considered as negative forces and handled militarily by the region.
c) THAT the establishment of the regional force to fight the negative forces should commence immediately under the leadership of the DRC.
The leaders resolved to meet within one month to evaluate progress on the implementation of work.