, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 31 – President Uhuru Kenyatta says the security situation within the Great Lakes is impacting negatively on the region’s stability which in turn affects social and economic development of the region.
Kenyatta asked the region’s leaders to cooperate in the aim of pacifying, stabilising and uniting the region with the ultimate goal of improving the people’s long term well-being.
The President asked member states to address the root causes of conflict and instability, and to work together in accordance with the principles set out in the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) pact on security, stability and development.
He said that Kenya continues to support regional efforts to ensure lasting peace and security within the areas affected by conflict and internal strife.
“Kenya supports the establishment and work of the Joint Intelligence Fusion Centre, and urges that the centre be strengthened to spearhead expeditious implementation of the Protocol on Non-Aggression and Mutual Defence,” he said on Wednesday at the sixth extraordinary ICGLR summit of the heads of state and government at the UN complex in Gigiri.
He said that Kenya remains concerned with the recurring tensions between the Republic of the Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan, and the fresh outbreak of violence in North Kivu (DRC), which has initiated a fresh cycle of humanitarian crisis in the region.
“We therefore appeal for a cessation of attacks on civilians, especially women and children, and for a quick resolution of the crisis,” he said.
He said Nairobi is also concerned with the crisis in the Central African Republic and will extend humanitarian assistance to those affected within the ICGLR framework and supports efforts to deploy a regional intervention force to deal with armed groups in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“Kenya supports the focus on seeking political solutions to security problems in the region and deeply appreciates the efforts made by the Heads of State and Governments of the ICGLR,” he said.
He pointed out that there is the need to urgently enhance bilateral and regional initiatives and emphasized that collective efforts are the best way to eliminate security threats in the region.
“As agents of our people’s well-being, custodians of national interests and stewards of popular aspirations we will work better and be stronger when they forge a unity of purpose,” he said.
Kenyatta said the humanitarian consequences of conflict will, over the immediate and long term, require the sustained attention of governments, development partners, international and regional organisations and the private sector.
“Even as we seek to entrench lasting peace, firmly rooted in sustainable development and sovereignty of the people, we must remain mindful of the imperative to minimise humanitarian impacts of conflict and instability through creative preventative (political and diplomatic) solutions,” he urged.
The president said that the recent attacks at the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) compound and law courts in Mogadishu are strong indicators of unfinished business.
“Despite the liberation of several areas from Al Shabaab control by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Ethiopian, Somali National Army forces, Somalia remains fragile, militants continue to mount attacks against the pacifying forces and civilians,” he stated.
He called on the region to speak with one voice in addressing this threat to guarantee peace and security.
“This one-voice and grassroots approach is critical in identifying and solving our collective problems and offers an ideal chance to realise sustainable peace-building, stability and development,” he said.