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South Africa: Congo Rebels Must Surrender

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Zuma, who has been very active in mediation efforts between DRC and the M23, made the remarks during the signing ceremony of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday.


The ceremony was attended by Uganda Vice President Edward Ssekandi, Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete, DRC Leader Joseph Kabila, South Sudan’s Salva Kiir and Angola’s Eduardo Dos Santos among others.


Sources tell Chimpreports South Africa and Angola had last year resolved to launch coordinated attacks against the M23 rebels in Bunagana until President Yoweri Museveni intervened, seeking a political solution to the conflict.


Museveni, last year, first travelled to Angola where he met President Eduardo Dos Santos. Hours later, Museveni flew to South Africa for a meeting with Zuma.


In the separate meetings, Museveni called for restraint and assured the two leaders that war would plunge the region into another cycle of violence.

He also promised to encourage M23 not to go beyond Goma, a strategic town they had earlier captured.


Speaking in Addis Ababa today, Zuma welcomed the proposal for an Intervention Brigade as a “realistic option to bring security to the eastern DRC within the shortest timeframe and hope that the signing of this Framework will hasten the deployment of an appropriate peace enforcement mechanism.”


He, however, observed that a military deployment presents only a short term solution but that real stability, peace and development requires far- reaching actions from the Government of the DRC and its neighbours.


Zuma described the agreement as a “potential turning point in the history of the DRC and the region” and “another opportunity to comprehensively deal with the complexities facing the DRC and the region.”


He said the Framework in itself does not provide all the answers, adding, it is an instrument that points the Government of the DRC, its immediate neighbours and the international community in a direction that will take this country out of the current morass.


“Its success will depend on the commitment and ultimately the concrete actions taken by all the parties to it, to interpret and implement it to its fullest noble intention.”


Non-interference

South Africa welcomed the inclusion of benchmarks and follow-up mechanisms that will facilitate a common understanding of the actions required by all parties.


Zuma called on countries of the region to “unreservedly commit themselves to this Framework” and to do what is necessary to make it work.


He added: “The DRC lies at the very heart of our great continent and we wish that this heart can beat peacefully, diffusing vitality to the benefit of its people and those of the region and indeed of all of Africa.”


Zuma said the continent was reminded of the words of Patrice Lumumba that; “we are proud of this struggle amid tears, fire and blood, down to our very hearts, for it was a noble and just struggle and indispensable struggle, of where we are to put an end to the humiliating slavery that had been forced upon us. We are going to ensure that the lands of our fatherland truly profit its children”.


He concluded: “The words of Patrice Lumumba must bear fruit. May the people of the DRC and their neighbours live in peace and harmony!”


The objective of the Framweork is to promote peace, security and stability in the DRC and the Great Lakes Region.


It contains commitment and oversight mechanisms aimed at addressing key issues.


The Framework provides for non interference in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries; to neither tolerate nor provide assistance or support of any kind to armed groups and to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighbouring countries.


Other terms include strengthening regional cooperation including deepening economic integration with special consideration for the exploitation of

natural resources; respect of the legitimate concerns and interests of the neighbouring countries, in particular regarding security matters and refraining from harbouring nor providing protection of any kind to persons accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, acts of genocide or crimes of aggression, or persons falling under the United Nations sanctions regime.


According to the signed framework, Kabila committed himself to “continue and deepen security sector reform, particularly with respect to the Army and Police.”


The new agreement requires him to consolidate State authority, particularly in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, including preventing armed groups from destabilizing neighbouring countries.


Kabila will also endevour to make progress with regard to decentralization spearheading economic development, including with respect to the expansion of infrastructure and basic social service delivery and putting in place further structural reform of Government institutions, including financial Reform.


The DRC leader will further the agenda of reconciliation, tolerance and democratization and also facilitate the administration of justice through judicial cooperation within the region.

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