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Signing of Nairobi pact paves the way for peace in the Great Lakes region

Monuc - December 18, 2006 4:11 PM

Signing of stability pact between the countries of the great lakes region - Joseph Kabila -Congo

With the signing of the Nairobi pact on Friday December 15 2006 by DRC, Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, it paves the way for security, stability and development in the region, after years of conflict.

Many African state leaders, including DRC president Joseph Kabila were in Nairobi Kenya for the two day summit that will go a long way to bringing the region out of the vicious cycle of humanitarian disaster, poverty, and repeated conflict.

MONUC welcomed the signing of the pact that will pave the way for peace in the region, especially in DR Congo, where MONUC has been working to promote peace and assist the Congolese in rebuilding their country after years of dictatorship and war.

"MONUC hopes that the different national parliaments ratify the agreement as soon as possible, in the interests of peace, security and for the well being of all the people in the region," added MONUC spokesperson Kemal Saiki.

MONUC hopes that the different national parliaments ratify the pact as soon as possible

As part of the pact, the leaders signed up to a long list of governance, humanitarian and economic programmes, as well as a non-aggression and mutual defence protocol which will not tolerate the presence of insurgents on their territories.

The programmes will be financed by an African Development Bank-managed fund, made up of mandatory contributions from member states and voluntary payments from donors.

The Great Lakes region has been a theatre of violence and humanitarian catastrophe over the last decade, resulting in millions of deaths, the widespread displacement of people and the collapse of physical, economic, and social infrastructure.

“We have now made a commitment to transform our region from a zone of conflict, violence and mistrust to one of peace, stability and development,” President Kabila said. 

The Great Lakes pact includes a $225 million security action plan to disarm rebel groups in Eastern DRC, and along border areas in Sudan, Kenya and Uganda.

The Great Lakes pact includes a $225 million security action plan to disarm rebel groups

“Special emphasis will be placed on the thorny issue of armed groups. Our reciprocal confidence will end the problem once and for all, and we will not spare any action to implement the pact,” President Kabila said.

He went on to say that dialogue and military force were the two main options in dealing with the rebels, who are a destabilising force for the DRC and the wider region.

“We are trying to encourage them to stop what they are doing. The military option is quite expensive, but we still have it and we will use it if and when we see fit.”

Ms. Besida Tonwe, the Head of United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in Central and East Africa, said that the conference was a long process of consultations in helping the Great Lakes Region to reconcile, rehabilitate, and reconstruct their societies in a politically delicate process.
A follow-up on the national implementation of the legal protocols adopted with the pact is essential

“It is also a process which in the future will continue to require financial support from the donor community and coherent assistance from the humanitarian community. It is now of utmost importance that there is a follow-up on the national implementation of the legal protocols adopted with the pact,” she said.

“The three protocols on humanitarian and social issues addressing sexual violence against women and children, property rights of returning persons, and the protection of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), are of the utmost importance,” she concluded.

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