, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – President Mwai Kibaki on Wednesday held discussions with the co-facilitators of the Eastern Democratic Congo peace negotiations former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania.
The co-facilitators briefed President Kibaki, who is also Chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, on the strides made in the quest for peace and stability in Eastern DRC among them cessation of hostilities, holding joint military operations between DRC and Rwanda which led to arrest of National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) rebel leader General Laurent Nkunda.
The two members of the Panel of the Eminent African Personalities have also witnessed the signing of a Peace Agreement in Goma between the Government of DRC and CNDP on 23rd March this year.
They also informed President Kibaki that CNDP has since been transformed into a political party and committed to seeking solutions to its grievances through political means and with due regard to the institutional order and to uphold the laws of DRC.
The DRC Government also agreed to enact the Amnesty Act, undertake repatriation of refugees and return of all internally displaced persons.
However, the two former African Presidents underscored the need to seek political solutions as the comprehensive remedy to deep rooted and complex causes of instability in the region.
The two former Presidents said that the presence of illegal armed groups continue to threaten peace within and among countries in the region apart from creating tension and mistrust between states and their political leaders.
They, however, expressed hope that political leaders in the region had demonstrated political will to address critical issues of peace and stability through translation of agreements into action.
The former presidents also revealed that DRC had applied for an observer status in the East African Community and had expressed its wish to become a full member of the community.
On his part President Kibaki commended the two eminent African leaders for their commendable achievements particularly cessation of hostilities among the parties to the conflict.
President Kibaki expressed optimism that the current peace and ceasefire will hold so that peaceful negotiations could be used to address the disputed issues.
He further commended the international community for the critical role they have played in joint efforts to conclusively tackle instability not only in DRC but also in the entire Great Lakes Region.
The leaders agreed to hold an extra-ordinary summit for the Great Lakes Region Heads of State in Nairobi at a later date.