KINSHASA – The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, has arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo ahead of the start of a joint regional mission this week of UN, African Union, US and European envoys to bolster diplomatic efforts for peace in the eastern DRC and the region.
Mrs. Robinson will undertake the visit jointly with Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of MONUSCO, Boubacar Diarra, Special Representative of the African Union, Russ Feingold, United States Special Envoy for the African Great Lakes region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Koen Vervaeke, European Union Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes region.
Visiting the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Rwanda from 4-7 September, the joint envoys will meet with senior Government officials, local authorities, representatives of the international community and civil society to discourage further hostilities and to energize political efforts for peace in the region, including the Kampala process. While in Kampala on 5 September, they will attend an extraordinary session of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (IGCLR) focused on the crisis in eastern DRC. They will stress the urgency of steps forward in the implementation of the 11-nation Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region signed earlier this year under UN auspices as a comprehensive approach to sustainable peace in the region.
The visit comes against the backdrop of renewed intense fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and regional tensions that have taken a heavy toll on civilians and underscore yet again the urgency of political solutions to the crisis which has been plaguing the DRC and the region for too long.
“I would like, first of all, to express my heartfelt condolences to the families of the latest victims of this conflict, and I urge all parties concerned to immediately stop military confrontations in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and work to rebuild trust in peace efforts,” the Special Envoy said at her arrival in Kinshasa on Sunday. “What the DRC and the region need is peace, stability and economic development. This can only be achieved by tackling the root causes of the conflict through a comprehensive political process.”
Prior to the start later this week of the joint envoys regional tour, Mary Robinson will hold internal consultations with UN partners in the DRC, and travel to Goma to express solidarity with the civilian population and MONUSCO.