International Conference on the Great Lakes Region

By Anne Mugisa     Museven -AFRICA-POLITICS
Several  heads of State  are in Kenyan capital Nairobi for the special summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to discuss mainly the hostilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The leaders are also expected to discuss:  tension between the two Sudans over the oil pipeline and rebellions, pacification of Somalia and the crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR). The heads of States and governments will also discuss a number of others issues including trade, according to Ken Vitisia of Kenya”s ministry of Foreign Affairs. President Yoweri Museveni  the the Chairman of the ICGLR, Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania), Joseph Kabila (DRC) ,Pierre Nkurunziza (Burundi) and the host Uhuru Kenyatta are attending the summit. South Sudan, Sudan, Angola, Zambia and CAR as well as the UN and development partners such as the African Development Bank, African Union and the World Bank are expected to send delegations. Great Lake ICGLR member countries are: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo (Brazzaville), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia. A media alert sent out by the ICGLR indicated that the summit will open at United Nations Complex, Gigiri after which the heads of State will shift to the Windsor Golf Hotel and Country Club where the rest of it will take place. At a July 25, 2013 consultation of the Great lakes Region Foreign Affairs Ministers in New York, the M23 rebels were asked to stop attacks on DRC government forces and the DRC Government to exercise restraint.  The consultation was arranged by the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary- General for the Great Lakes Region on the margins of the high-level Security Council debate on the Great Lakes Region. They also recognised that the swift conclusion of the Kampala Dialogue between the DRC Government and the M23 would contribute to addressing the current situation in the eastern DRC.Among the issues of to be addressed during the Nairobi summit are the issues of refugees, the impending regional economic integration, investments in infrastructure and increased regional trade. According to Vitisia, the summit will provide an opportunity for Kenya to take a leadership role in regional peace, stability and development. He said Kenya will take the opportunity to push its agenda for the region to invest heavily in intra-regional infrastructure development. Kenya will also lobby for diplomatic support in its quest for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for the 2017-2018 period.

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