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Nairobi, 12 December 2014 – One year ago, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the M23 rebel group signed two Declarations in Nairobi, Kenya, which concluded a year-long peace process held in Kampala under the auspices of President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and his facilitator Defense Minister Crispus Kiyonga. In their respective Declarations, the signatory parties committed to take immediate steps to find lasting solutions to the issues raised during the Kampala Dialogue and end the conflict between the DRC Armed Forces and the M23, which had caused immense suffering and claimed many lives. The consensus reached during the peace talks included amnesty and repatriation for eligible members of the ex-M23, as well as commitments to continue work towards the return of refugees and internally displaced people where appropriate, national reconciliation and justice, and social, security and economic reforms.
Today, as we commemorate the first anniversary of these commitments to long term stability and development in eastern DRC, UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Said Djinnit, UN Special Representative and Head of MONUSCO Martin Kobler, AU Special Representative for the Great Lakes Boubacar Diarra, EU Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes Koen Vervaeke, US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes and the DRC Russell D. Feingold and Belgium Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Frank de Coninck note with concern that while important steps have been made, the overall implementation of the Nairobi Declarations remains slow.
The Envoys welcome the steps taken so far by the Government of the DRC in the implementation of its commitments under the Declarations, including on amnesty and efforts to facilitate the repatriation of the ex-M23 combatants still present in Uganda and Rwanda. They call on the governments of the DRC, Uganda and Rwanda to strengthen their collaboration to speed up the repatriation to DRC of all eligible ex-M23 combatants and their dependents. In this endeavor, these governments should coordinate with the ex-M23 leadership, so as to ensure an orderly and cohesive repatriation process. In this regard, they urge the leaders of the ex-M23 to extend their full cooperation.
Beyond the amnesty and repatriation issues, a number of other critical provisions of the Declarations are yet to be implemented, as per the roadmap and timetable developed by the DRC National Oversight Mechanism (NOM). The Envoys urge the signatory parties to work together in good faith and resolve the pending issues towards the implementation of all the remaining provisions of the Nairobi Declarations, including on justice for the victims of the conflict. The Envoys further note that only with sustained and collective efforts will lasting peace and stability be achieved in eastern DRC, in line with the objectives of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region. The Envoys also encourage leaders in the region, particularly the Chairpersons of the International Conference on the Great Lakes region (ICGLR) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as witnesses of the Nairobi Declarations, to accompany the parties in the implementation process. In this collective endeavor, the Envoys will continue to play their part, including by assisting the parties and supporting the ICGLR Secretariat and the NOM, both mandated to monitor the implementation of the Declarations.