Former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on various sides of a conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to embrace dialogue in order to achieve lasting peace.
Kenyatta made the call after meeting with stakeholders on cantonment matters in North Kivu, DRC, on Friday in Nairobi.
“We must adequately consult all parties and reach an agreement regarding this crucial stage,” he said.
The former president has been facilitating the Nairobi Peace Process that focuses on ending hostilities in the DRC.
International organisations and members of the diplomatic corps attended a consultative meeting he convened in Nairobi.
The meeting aimed at assisting stakeholders in planning, organising and reaching consensus on how to collectively achieve the final stage of the process (cantonment).
The process was initiated during the Luanda Summit held on Nov. 23, 2022.
The cantonment is a sensitive aspect of the peace restoration process that requires transparency.
It also required open consultation and stakeholder dialogue, Kenyatta said in a statement released in Nairobi.
“It is imperative to address all necessary technical and logistical matters, including establishing open and indirect lines of dialogue with the armed groups,” he added.
According to the statement, one of the primary objectives of the Nairobi and Luanda Peace Processes is an orderly and swift cessation of hostilities.
It involves the withdrawal of armed groups from their forward positions to designated locations.
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Other objectives include systematic and organised cantonment and disarmament of the groups.
Bintou, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the DRC and Head of UN Organisation Stabilization Mission in the DRC attended the meeting.
Keita said at the meeting that the cantonment should be voluntary. She also reaffirmed the United Nations’ unwavering support for the peace process.
Deputy Prime Minister of DRC, Christophe Lutundula Apala Pene Apala, also said the government is committed to peace process.
The security situation in eastern DRC has continued to deteriorate over the past three months.
This is in spite of a lull in armed clashes between the March 23 Movement (M23) and government forces in North Kivu province, said Martha Pobee, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Africa.
So far, cease-fire between the M23 rebel group and government forces has relatively held and recorded some security gains.
However, the withdrawal of the M23 from the occupied areas has been piecemeal, tactical and political.
The M23 still controls a large part of the Masisi and Rutshuru territories as well as the movement of people and goods in those areas, she told the UN Security Council.
“Moreover, the M23’s offensive repositioning in recent weeks has raised fears that hostilities could flare up again at any moment.
“The M23 continues to create insecurity, reportedly killing at least 47 civilians in North Kivu,” Pobee said. (Xinhua)
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