Huang Xia, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, welcomes the sustained political and diplomatic engagement of regional leaders in response to the deteriorating security situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and tensions between countries in the region.
Special Envoy Xia commends the leadership of Presidents Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi, as Chair of the East African Community (EAC), and João Lourenço of Angola, as President of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and mandated by the African Union (AU), as well as former President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya as facilitator of the EAC-led peace process with the aim of ending the activities of the M23, FDLR, ADF, RED-Tabara and all local armed groups that continue to be active in eastern DRC, and to rebuild trust through dialogue. It also notes the progress made in the deployment of the EAC Regional Force.
The Special Envoy stresses the importance of the steps to be taken by all stakeholders to implement the agreements reached during recent regional engagements in order to create the basis for advancing peace and stability through open, frank and sincere dialogue.
Recalling further the commitments made under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 24 February 2013, Special Envoy Xia reiterates the importance of this mechanism and other regional instruments, including the ICGLR Compact, to address the root causes of instability in eastern DRC and bring lasting peace and prosperity to the Great Lakes region.
The safety and well-being of society's most vulnerable must be at the forefront of collective efforts, as must the need for inclusive dialogue and reconciliation involving women and youth. Reiterating his deep concern over the humanitarian consequences of the current crisis on the civilian population, Special Envoy Xia urges all armed groups, including the M23, to immediately cease all forms of violence and resolutely engage in the voluntary disarmament process. It further calls on the M23 to withdraw from all positions held, in line with the decision taken by the EAC Heads of State in their communiqué of 20 June 2022.
Special Envoy Xia reiterates his unwavering commitment, and that of the United Nations as a whole, to lend its full support to the ongoing regional efforts.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region (OSESG-GL).