Peace and Security, political stability and economic development are critical elements for the prosperity of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This was said by the Executive Secretary of SADC, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, during her meeting with the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Mr. Huang Xia, held on 26 September 2019 in New York.
“We need a holistic approach to address these issues—Peace and Security, Political stability and economic prosperity—because they are not isolated”, said Dr. Tax.
The UN Special Envoy appreciated the meeting, which had been on the cards for a long time, and underscored that SADC remains a very important guarantor of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Great Lakes and the DRC.
The meeting observed that SADC continues to support and work very closely with the DRC Government, and the combating the negative forces that are operating in eastern DRC remains a priority for the DRC and SADC.
Of note, SADC played a critical role in supporting the DRC during the December 2018 elections by, among others, ensuring that her territorial integrity was respected. As a virtue, SADC upholds the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of the country.
Dr. Tax also emphasised that the interests in the DRC are diverse with multiple players. As such, it is important to learn and understand the diverse interests and manage them for the interest of the Congolese.
On his part, Mr. Xia acknowledged that the countries of the Great Lakes Region have adopted stronger cooperation to address the challenges in their region. He indicated that his mandate will be guided by the work of his predecessors, and engaging with the stakeholders in the region, while noting that there is need to accompany and support the countries in the region in their quest for prosperity.
Mr. Xia appreciated the work that SADC has done in the DRC that has resulted in the stabilisation of the country, as well as the overall regional stabilisation. To this effect, he assured SADC that his office will support the countries of the Great Lakes Region in addressing their challenges and ensure peace and tranquillity prevails in the region.
Mr. Xia extended an invitation to Dr. Tax to the forthcoming Summit of the Regional Mechanism of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework, to be held at a date to be confirmed in consultation with the Government of the DRC; and to the Great Lakes Investment and Trade Conference to be held in November 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda.
Dr. Tax appreciated the invitations, and emphasised that there was a great need to conduct an assessment of the previous Investment Forums so that the forthcoming forum will be results-oriented and that it attains the intended objectives, specifically for the benefit of the ordinary Congolese.
Both Dr. Tax and Mr. Xia agreed that their organisations will continue cooperating in order to ensure sustained stability, peace and security in the DRC, and by extension, in the region.
Dr. Tax was accompanied by the Director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs, Mr. Jorge Cardoso, and the African Union Institutional Reforms Expert, Mr. Mukundi Mutasa.