Kiir meets Ndayishimiye, agree on key points for EAC peace

Kiir meets Ndayishimiye, agree on key points for EAC peace

President Salva Kiir continued his trip to the East African Community member states, landing in Burundi for peace talks with his counterpart, Evariste Ndayishimye, who handed over the chairmanship of the bloc to him.

According to the statement obtained from the Presidential Press Unit on Friday, Kiir landed in the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, and was received by Burundi’s Minister of EAC Affairs, Ezekiel Nibigira.

“President Kiir, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the bloc, is holding dialogues with leaders amid escalating tensions in the region,” PPU noted.

By yesterday evening, Kiir and Ndayishimye had held talks and issued a joint communiqué on the action points of their discussion.

According to the communique, the two leaders observed that peace and security were vital for the community’s quest for socio-economic and political goals.

They underscored the importance of adhering to the previous agreements as had been discussed in Nairobi, Kenya, and Luanda, Zambia, to deal with the regional tension, particularly between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“Their excellencies reaffirmed their commitment to the EAC-led Nairobi process and underscored the need for expeditious complementary implementation with Luanda process to avert the deterioration of security in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which risks spillover into neighbouring partner states,” the communique read partly.

They also agreed that Burundi and Rwanda need to embark on the previous dialogue as long-term coexisting sister countries and ensure that they find a long-lasting solution to ease tension.

Their excellencies reaffirmed their commitment to the EAC-led Nairobi process and underscored the need for expeditious complementary implementation with the Luanda process to avert the deterioration of security in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which risks spillover into neighbouring partner states.

“This will energise the implementation of the EAC integration imperatives that include free movement of persons, goods and services,” they noted.

The Nairobi Process stipulated total ceasefire in the region, the repatriation of foreign militaries and called on local armed groups to observe the Disarmament, Demobilization, Community Recovery and Stabilization Programme. It also authorised the deployment of the regional force in the DRC to fight the M23.

On the other hand, the Luanda Process reinforced the implementation of the Nairobi one, calling for the withdrawal of the M23—a rebel group operating in the eastern DRC—and other armed groups.

On Thursday evening, Kiir held talks with Kagame, and the Secretary-General of the EAC, Dr. Peter Mathuki, addressed the media over the meeting, insinuating that it was a success.

“President Kiir discussed ways of strengthening intra-partner state relations within East Africa, besides peace and security situations within the region, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” the PPU stated, about Mathuki’s account.

It added, “The Head of State will proceed to the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, to meet President Evariste Ndayishimiye before making a final leg of the visit to DR Congo, where he will hold similar discussions with President Felix Tshisekedi.”

More responsibility

Besides the growing need to champion the mediation in Sudan and put an end to a nine-month-long war, President Kiir’s attention is equally required on the eastern side of the continent after being handed over the leadership of the bloc.

President Kiir assumed leadership in the wake of diplomatic conflicts among member states, notably between the DRC and Rwanda and, lately, Rwanda and Burundi.

Early this year, the Kigali government claimed that Bujumbura had decided to shut down its border weeks after it accused Rwanda of backing some rebels.

Burundi’s President Ndayishimiye accused Rwanda of hosting and training the Red Tabara rebel group, which claimed responsibility for an attack near Burundi’s western border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Rwanda has rejected his allegations.

DRC is also blaming Rwanda for backing the rebel group in M23. But Kigali has denied these claims.

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