Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, 21st July, 2018: The Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee (RIMC) comprising of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region ICGLR met in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo on 21st July, 2018, under the chairmanship of H.E. Jean Claude Gakosso, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Congolese Abroad of the Republic of Congo. The meeting was convened to analyze the political and security situation in the region, and organisational matters of the ICGLR.

In his statement at the opening ceremony, H.E. Firmin Ayessa, Vice Prime Minister of the Republic of Congo and Guest of Honor, enumerated challenges facing the region and the work done so far in the implementation of the Pact, and noted that the ICGLR remains an important mechanism for resolving conflicts and consolidating Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region. He expressed his gratitude to the Executive Secretary and his team for the dedication and commitment exhibited in the implementation of its mandate, and pledged the sincere commitment of the Republic of Congo to steer the ICGLR in its efforts to sustain regional security and stability. 

In his statement, the Chair of the RIMC, H.E. Jean Claude Gakosso, welcomed his colleagues to Brazzaville and wished them a safe stay. He extolled positive developments in the peace process in South Sudan and the prospects for the electoral process in the DRC, and called on the region to build on this progress to ensure ultimate success. He reiterated the Republic of Congo’s continued commitment to the implementation of the Pact and advancing the ICGLR objectives of cementing peace, stability and development in the region. He called upon the RIMC to keep supporting the Conference Secretariat to enable it coordinate the implementation of the Pact.

On his part Amb. Zachary Muburi-Muita, the Executive Secretary of the ICGLR, expressed his gratitude to H.E. Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo, for his steadfast commitment to the ICGLR Mechanism. He reiterated the commitment of the Secretariat and all of its organs to support the Chair in advancing the objectives of consolidating Peace and Security in the region. He briefed the meeting on ongoing progress in strengthening collaboration with the African Union and the United Nations, and recent discussions with the European Union on improving the framework of their support to ICGLR projects.

The opening session was also addressed by Amb. Said Djinnit, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General to the Great Lakes Region, who highlighted the recent joint efforts with the ICGLR under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework. The Special Representative of the AU to the Great Lakes Region, Mr. Basile Ekouebe, delivered remarks on behalf of the Commissioner for Peace and Security, emphasizing the Importance of working collectively to help the region consolidate stability and deliver peace dividends to the people. He surveyed recent positive developments in South Sudan, Burundi, the electoral process in the DRC, and the breakthrough in relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea. 

Having received the report of the National Coordinators, briefings by Member States on political and security situation in their respective Member States, and a comprehensive briefing by the ICGLR Executive Secretary, the Ministers resolved as follows.

  1. Took note and welcomed the decision of the President of the Republic of Burundi not to run for another term, and called on the European Union to lift the sanctions on the Republic of Burundi;
  1. Noted the DRC’s determination to hold elections as scheduled by the electoral calendar, and Affirmed support to the ongoing progress in the electoral process in the country.
  1. Expressed support to the ongoing peace negotiations in the Republic of South and saluted the regional efforts by IGAD Member States, and in particular, H.E. President Omer Al-Bashir of Sudan, who has been mandated by them to bring the Government and the Opposition in the Republic of South Sudan to the ongoing face to face talks in Khartoum. Called on all parties to negotiate in good faith to achieve lasting peace and appealed to all parties to respect the Ceasefire Agreement and expedite the conclusion of the comprehensive accord that will usher sustainable peace to the long-suffering people of South Sudan;
  1. Welcomed the political courage exhibited by H.E President Uhuru Kenyata in meeting and agreeing with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga on reconciliatory steps to consolidate stability in the Republic of Kenya, and appreciated the face to face meeting between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr Riek Machar that led to a breakthrough in the peace process in South Sudan;
  1. Called for humanitarian assistance to Member States hosting huge numbers of refugees, and called for addressing the root causes of refugees fleeing their home countries, and commended the Governments of DRC and Uganda for peacefully resolving the incident that happened on Lake Edward;
  1. Called on the ICGLR Troika to undertake diplomatic efforts towards normalising the bilateral relations between Burundi and Rwanda;
  1. Called for the removal of the Republic of Sudan from the US list of State Sponsors of terrorism and the lifting of all American unilateral economic sanctions against the country;
  1. Directed the Executive Secretary to proceed with the restructuring process of the ICGLR with periodic written updates to the RIMC.

The Meeting of the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee (RIMC) expressed profound gratitude to H.E. Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo and Chair of the ICGLR, and to the government and people of the Republic of Congo for the generous hospitality and excellent facilities accorded to the delegates, which enabled the successful conduct of the meeting.

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