Nairobi, Kenya – Former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, as the Facilitator of the East Africa Community (EAC)-led Nairobi Peace Process, convened a meeting today to address cantonment matters in North Kivu, the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The meeting, held in Nairobi and attended by representatives from various stakeholders, aimed to strategize and achieve a consensus on the final stage of the process initiated during the Luanda Summit in November 2022.
The primary objective of the Nairobi and Luanda Peace Processes is to ensure a swift and organized cessation of hostilities, which includes the withdrawal of armed groups from their positions and the systematic cantonment and disarmament of these groups.
Today’s meeting focused on the sensitive aspects of the cantonment, emphasizing transparency, open consultation, and stakeholder dialogue.
President Kenyatta addressed the gathering, stressing the urgency and sensitivity of the process.
He highlighted the need for comprehensive consultations and agreements among all parties involved, including the armed groups that will be cantoned.
Technical and logistical matters were discussed, with an emphasis on establishing effective lines of dialogue and consultation.
“The cantonment aspect presents a sensitive and urgent challenge. We must ensure that all parties are adequately consulted and reach an agreement regarding this crucial stage. It is imperative to address all necessary technical and logistical matters, including establishing open and indirect lines of dialogue and consultation with the armed groups we aim to canton,” Kenyatta emphasized.
The successful completion of the cantonment stage is pivotal for the achievement of sustainable peace and stability in the eastern part of the DRC.
President Kenyatta expressed his appreciation for the unwavering commitment and determination of the East Africa Community in assisting the government of the DRC in pacifying the region.
During the meeting, the facilitator commended the cooperation between the EAC militaries and the Chiefs of Defence Forces from the member states and their counterparts in the DRC.
This collaboration has ensured the proper deployment of forces across various sectors.
He called upon all stakeholders to work collaboratively to complete the cantonment process, as it will set the stage for subsequent activities within the framework of disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration, and resettlement (DDRRR) in the future.
Ms. Bintou Keita, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in the DRC and Head of MONUSCO, addressed the forum, echoing President Kenyatta’s sentiments on the voluntary nature of cantonment.
She assured all participants of the United Nations unwavering support throughout the peace process.
Congolese Foreign Minister Sam Lukonde, expressed the government’s commitment to the peace process and its appreciation for the collective efforts being made.
The EAC regional force commander (EACRF), Maj-Gen Alphaxard Muthuri Kiugu, Angolan Lieutenant-General Nassone João were present during the meeting.
The EAC Secretary-General was represented by Major Gen. Ally Mzee Katimbe, the Military Advisor to the regional bloc.
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