US President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Tanzania in a few days as part of his second trip to Africa. We urge President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania to discuss with him his policy recommendations for peace in the Great Lakes region that he put forward during the recent African Union Summit in the Ethiopian Capital, Addis Ababa this May.
President Kikwete said: “The United Nations Intervention Brigade is helpful in the short term but is not paramount for durable peace in the Great Lakes region. To have durable peace, a global dialogue is warranted. General Paul Kagame needs to have direct talks with the Rwandan armed rebel movements operating from the Congolese provinces of Kivus the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), especially the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR). Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni needs to hold similar talks with the rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces/National Army for the Liberation of Uganda [ADF-NALU] opposed to his government, and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila needs to jump start the peace talks with M23 Congolese rebels.” (Talk to Your Armed Opposition, Tanzanian President Kikwete Tells Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and Joseph Kabila of DRC, Afroamerica Network, May 26, 2013)
While Rwanda and Uganda are outraged over President Kikwete’s statement, we believe that he has facts on hand that prompted him to publicly call Rwanda and Uganda to do their part in the peace process. Consequently, we urge the United Nation’s Special Envoy Mary Robinson and the U.S Special envoy Russ Feingold, and other stakeholders to support President Kikwete’s vision for regional peace.
Furthermore, we ask that Burundi be added to the list because there are still Burundian rebels based in DRC as well.
President Kikwete’s call not to remain silent on this issue is relevant and long overdue.
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