The signing, at the weekend, of a peace, security and co-operation framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the surrounding Great Lakes region, while not providing all the answers, is an instrument to take the country out of its current morass.
This was South African President Jacob Zuma’s reaction to the framework, signed in Addis Ababa. UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon saw the document as one he hoped would lead to peace and stability for the peoples of the DRC and the region.
“We commit ourselves to respect our obligations in terms of the agreement we signed today and wish all signatories do the same,” DRC President Joseph Kabila was reported as saying during the signing ceremony, presided over the African Union (AU) chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Zuma called it another opportunity to comprehensively deal with the complexities facing the DRC and the region.
“The framework in itself does not provide all the answers. It is an instrument that points the DRC government, its immediate neighbours and the international community in a direction that will take the country out of the current morass.
“Its success will depend on the commitment and ultimately the concrete actions taken by all parties to it, to interpret and implement it to its fullest noble intentions.”
Zuma also welcome the proposed deployment of a multi-national intervention brigade to the eastern part of the DRC as “a realistic option” to bring security to the area.
South African Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula last week told Parliament the country would not be sending additional troops to be part of the new brigade.
“The military deployment (to eastern DRC) presents only a short term solution with real stability, peace and development requiring far-reaching actions from the DRC government and its neighbours,” Zuma said, adding lasting peace in the eastern DRC would only be possible through a comprehensive political solution.
“All armed groups must immediately cease all forms of violence and other destabilising activities and immediately release all child soldiers and permanently lay down their arms,” the South African president said.
The framework signing ceremony was attended by leaders from Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Congo Republic and South Sudan in addition to Zuma, Kabila and the UN secretary general.