Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Joseph Malanji, represented President Edgar Lungu at the virtual 8th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).
Hon. Malanji was accompanied by Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary for International Relations and Cooperation Ambassador Chalwe Lombe and other senior Government officials.
The Summit, which was hosted by His Excellency Mr. Denis Sassou N’guesso, President of the Republic of Congo and outgoing Chair of the ICGLR on Friday, was convened under the theme, “Fostering the Implementation of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region by intensifying Regional Economic Cooperation and Development”.
The Summit considered and adopted the reports of the 8th Session of the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee (RIMC) and the extraordinary RIMC; the Meeting of Ministers of Defence on the security situation in the region; the Ministers of Health; and approved the 2020/2021 Budget for the ICGLR.
The one-day Summit saw His Excellency Mr. João Lourenço, President of the Republic of Angola take over the Chairmanship of the ICGLR. The Summit also approved the appointment of the new Executive Secretary of the ICGLR, Mr. João Samuel Caholo of Angola.
The Summit welcomed the resolution of the border conflict between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia.
The Summit affirmed that the security and humanitarian situation in the country is relatively calm but condemned the activities of armed groups and the negative forces that continue to operate in eastern DRC.
The Summit called on the international community to support peace efforts by the ICGLR in the Republic of South Sudan and extend humanitarian assistance to refugees.
On the Republic of Sudan, the Summit welcomed the signing of the Sudan Peace Agreement in Juba on 3rd October, 2020 between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Revolutionary Front and called upon the international community to provide the necessary support for its speedy implementation.
The Summit supported the ongoing electoral processes and the upcoming elections within the constitutional timeframe in the Central African Republic and urged the Member States to support the Government’s efforts to restore peace and stability through direct support for the development of defence and security forces.
On Burundi, the Summit noted the calm security and political situation which enabled the successful holding of the general elections from May to August 2020. The Summit commended the improvement of the humanitarian situation in Burundi as evidenced by the high number of Burundian refugees who have returned to their country.
The meeting deplored the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the people and the economies of the region and commended efforts of Member States to contain the spread.
The Summit welcomed the decision to create a network of health experts similar to the Judicial Cooperation Network in the Great Lakes Region.
The meeting expressed concern about the growing threat of terrorism and extremism in Africa and urged the Secretariat to convene a face-to-face ministerial meeting to assess the threats in the Great Lakes Region and work on a strategy to prevent and combat terrorism and extremism, depending on how the Covid-19 pandemic evolves.
The Summit congratulated His Excellency Evariste Ndayishimiye on his election as President of the Republic of Burundi and His Excellency Dr. John Pombe Magufuli on his re-election as the President of the Republic of Tanzania.
The Summit also thanked outgoing Chair, His Excellency Mr. N’guesso, and President of the Republic of Congo for his exemplary leadership from 2017 to 2020.
The Summit reaffirmed its strong commitment to the ICGLR Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region and its related Protocols.
The Summit is the supreme organ of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) responsible for directing the implementation of the Pact, approving the budgetary resources on the recommendation of the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee, allocating additional resources and assessing progress made in the implementation of the Pact.
The ICGLR is an inter-governmental organization of the countries in the African Great Lakes Region whose founding history began in 2000. Its establishment was based on the recognition that political instability and conflicts in these countries have a considerable regional dimension and thus require a concerted effort to promote sustainable peace and development. It is headquartered in Bujumbura, Burundi.
The Member States include the Republic of Angola, Republic of Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Kenya, Republic of Rwanda, Republic of Sudan, Republic of South Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Uganda and Republic of Zambia.