Kenya: Optimism as DR Congo Peace Talks Begin in Kenya

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There is big optimism that armed groups in DR Congo which are now parties to the dialogue in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, will flow with the dedication and commitment that guarantees progress towards a durable solution.

A statement shared by Amb. Isaiya Kabira, the Director General in charge of international conferences, media events and communications in Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, indicates that an inter-Congolese dialogue on the peace and security situation between DR Congo and local armed groups based inside and outside the country continued in Nairobi on April 23.

Logistical and organizational challenges delayed the initial schedule of talks, the statement states, adding that however, once the delegates congregated and started deliberations; they exhibited steadfast zeal, verve and dynamism.

“The inter DRC peace dialogue meetings are still ongoing in Nairobi with representatives from 24 groups. Good progress is being made and the discussions are honest and frank among the over 80 delegates in attendance,” Amb. Kabira said on Wednesday, April 27.

The initiative is an outcome of the first and second Heads of State conclaves on the peace and security situation in DR Congo under the chairmanship of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta held on April 8 and 21, respectively, at State House Nairobi. During the second meeting, Presidents President Félix Tshisekedi of DR Congo, Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, as well as Rwanda’s foreign minister Dr Vincent Biruta, agreed to the deployment of a regional force to help contain armed groups holed up in DR Congo.

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As noted, later, on the third day of the dialogue graced by Amb. Macharia Kamau, Kenya’s Principal Secretary for Foreign Affairs, witnessed deliberations between six armed groups based in South Kivu Province in eastern DR Congo and the government of their country “held in a spirit of cordiality and frankness.”

“The Principal Secretary called for the harnessing positive energy to actionable outcomes. He spoke to the need of a revived commitment to undertake exhaustive discussions to chart a path towards durable peace,” the statement reads.

The Congolese government, through Prof Serge Tshibangu, President Tshisekedi’s special envoy, “expressed willingness to engage all players to expedite the resolution of the conflict situation in the country.

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On their part, as noted, the representatives of the various armed groups present emphasized their readiness to lay down arms if a situation that returns to tranquillity in their country is reached.