Terrorists, like the Allied Democratic Forces and other groups based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) can be defeated the way Uganda wiped out all negative forces in the country, President Yoweri Museveni has said.
The president says he is convinced that it is possible to defeat these terrorists. “In Uganda we have done it. ADF are from Uganda, we defeated them in the Mountains of Rwenzori and other areas where they went. We had terrorists of all types in Uganda but we defeated them,” he added.
President Museveni made these remarks Monday while welcoming Heads of State and Government as well as delegations at the opening of the one-day 9th Regional Oversight Mechanism of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Region at Speke Commonwealth Resort Hotel near Kampala City.
Presidents Salva Kiir of South Sudan and Edgar Chagwa Lungu of Zambia attended the Summit. Others included the Vice President of Sudan, Osman Mohamed Yusuf, First Vice-President of Burundi, Gaston Sindimwo and Prime Minister Clement Mouamba of Congo (Brazzaville), while the Minister of National Defence and Veterans, Crispin Atama Tabe Mogoli represented neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Envoys from several countries, who are accredited to Uganda, among others, attended the meeting.
Mr. Museveni pointed out that as the in-coming Chairperson of the Regional Oversight Mechanism of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region, his first measure, among many others, is to approach his DRC counterpart, Joseph Kabila to map out ways of ending the menace of retrogressive forces in the region. He said the problems in the DRC, in most cases, spill over not only to Uganda but also to other neighbouring countries adding that action is now needed by the Government of the DRC, together with regional and international partners, to establish total peace in the region.
“That trinity of the DRC, Regional countries and the International Community, can work if we embark on it seriously,” he observed.
He, therefore, urged member states to use the concept of the Great Lakes Region that has existed long before, to not only work for peace in the region but also to pursue the path of shared development.
The out-going Chairperson of the Framework, President Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo, in a message, congratulated President Museveni for assuming the stewardship of the body. He pointed out that significant progress in the DRC, Burundi, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, was made during his tenure. He called on all stakeholders to pursue all efforts to bring about everlasting peace to the region.
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. Antonio Gutterres, encouraged all countries concerned, with the support of the African Union, the International Conference on the Great Lakes region, the Southern African Development Community and the United Nations, to ensure regional cooperation in tackling long lasting challenges in parts of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Building confidence and trust is crucial to peace building” he noted.
While closing the meeting later in the evening, President Museveni thanked the outgoing Chairperson, President Denis Sassou Nguesso for steering the process for the past year.
“He worked tirelessly and achieved good results, especially in the CAR. Even in the DRC, where he left, we shall continue,” he said.
President Museveni stressed that the people of Africa also need prosperity that can be achieved through production and sale of goods and services.
“We need to stop these conflicts and concentrate on trade in goods and services. The region should be a centre of trade for the prosperity of the people of the region,” he said.
A communiqué presented by Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Sam Kuteesa pointed out, among many other things, that the meeting condemned the continued activities of the negative forces in the region and stressed the need for a new approach beyond the existing measures to ensure greater regional cooperation for the full neutralization of the negative forces.
On Burundi, the meeting equally welcomed the announcement by President Pierre Nkurunziza not to present himself as a candidate in the next elections.
The Heads of State and government called on the armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) to end their violent acts.
They also welcomed the initialling of the revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the conflict in South Sudan and called on the signatory parties to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Agreement.