Declaration by the Envoys for the Great Lakes

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Declaration by the Envoys for the Great Lakes
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NEW YORK, September 9, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Declaration by the Envoys for the Great Lakes:

We, the Special Envoys and Special Representatives of the United Nations, African Union, European Union, and United States, jointly visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda from September 3-7.

Against the background of renewed fighting between the M23 rebel group and the DRC military, we advanced our joint visit to the region to assist in the de-escalation of tensions in eastern DRC and the region. We also continued to pursue and champion the implementation of the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region, which represents the best opportunity for resolving the root causes of conflict and for achieving sustainable peace and development in the region.

On 5 September, we participated in the 7th Extraordinary Summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). We commend President Museveni, Chair of the ICGLR, for convening this important high-level meeting with the view to addressing the recent fighting in eastern DRC. We welcome the ICGLR Heads of State decisions, which give new impetus to the Kampala Dialogue while setting a deadline to conclude the talks rapidly. We strongly support the Heads of State call for maximum restraint by parties to the conflict, and urge all illegitimate armed groups to lay down their weapons and prioritize a political solution.

We encourage the parties to the Kampala Dialogue to adopt a principled approach towards the issues of amnesty and reintegration.

We welcome the decision of the ICGLR member States to grant MONUSCO permanent representation in the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism in order to enable it to carry out its mission more effectively. We strongly condemn the indiscriminate shelling of civilian populations in the city of Goma, as well as the targeted attacks against UN peacekeepers. We also strongly condemn the shelling that landed in Rwanda. We encourage the parties in the region to work together, and with MONUSCO, to investigate the origin of the shelling.

We encourage the signatories of the Framework to advance the process through continued regional cooperation. In this regard, we look forward to the upcoming meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism on 23 September in New York and the joint summit of the ICGLR and the Southern African Development Community.

Mrs. Mary Robinson, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region; Mr. Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the DRC and Head of MONUSCO; Mr. Russel Feingold, United States Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the DRC; Mr. Boubacar Diarra, African Union Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region; Mr. Koen Vervaeke, EU Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes Region