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At the outset, I would like to thank the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, Mr. Huang Xia, for his detailed briefing and express my country’s appreciation for his efforts to support peace in the region. We also thank the Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, Mr. João Samuel Caholo, for providing us with valuable information. We also listened to Mr. Dinesh Mahtani’s insights and welcome the participation of representatives of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi in today’s meeting.
Since the Council’s last briefing, the Great Lakes region has witnessed several positive developments, especially regarding the strengthened diplomatic relations between the countries of the region. This dynamic can be seen, for example, in the reopening of the borders between Rwanda and Uganda last January and, more generally, through the increased stability along the borders of countries in the Great Lakes region. The UAE commends the efforts of the leaders of East Africa Community to support peace and stability in the DRC and the region, including their recent initiatives to strengthen constructive dialogue to address ongoing challenges.
We also agree that the implementation of the “Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework” is essential as was stated in the latest Security Council Presidential Statement on the Great Lakes region, which was issued last October and facilitated by Kenya. However, this implementation should be accompanied by support for initiatives that provide space for exchanging views and building upon a common, regional vision for peace that is in line with the needs and aspirations of the peoples of the region. For instance, the convening of the “Regional Monitoring Mechanism for the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework” Conference in Kinshasa is an example of such encouraging initiatives, which endorse the “United Nations Strategy for the Consolidation of Peace and Conflict Prevention and Resolution in the Great Lakes Region”.
The economic empowerment of the countries of the region and the strengthening of trade relations remains a key factor in consolidating peace. In this regard, we commend the efforts of the Special Envoy in stimulating economic growth and combating poverty in the region. The efforts of the members of the Economic Community of Central African States and the introduction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo into the East African Community are important steps to work towards enhancing economic integration among the countries of the region and to serve the interests of its people in development and prosperity.
Given women’s active roles in building peaceful, prosperous, and resilient societies, we emphasize the importance of ensuring the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in all social, economic, and political tracks, while also providing them with the necessary protection. We believe that the recent launch of the “Network of Women Entrepreneurs in the Great Lakes Region” is a tangible example of the region’s commitment to achieving these goals.
As the Secretary-General noted, achieving stability in the region in the long term requires addressing the root causes of conflicts, ending the violence of armed groups, and resolving humanitarian crises, while also allowing the people of the region to take initiative in achieving their desired outcomes of peace and prosperity.
In this regard, we stress that addressing violence against civilians and humanitarian workers, especially in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, requires a collective, internationally supported response from the countries of the region.
In conclusion, the UAE affirms its commitment to support the efforts of the United Nations, our regional partners, and further efforts aimed at building confidence and consolidating peace to chart a new path for prosperity and stability in the region.
Thank you, Mr. President.