Delivered by: Ms. Ghasaq Shaheen, Political Coordinator
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At the outset, I would like to thank Special Envoy Mr. Huang Xia for his thorough briefing, and his endeavors to support peace efforts in the region. We welcome the participation of the representatives of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and South Africa in today’s meeting.
The Great Lakes region has recently witnessed alarming security developments due to the situation in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the continued activities of armed groups in the region and their illegal exploitation of natural resources, as well as continued attacks against civilians and humanitarian workers. There are also growing concerns over the spread of misinformation, discrimination, and increased incidents of hate speech in the region. Efforts must be strengthened to address all these challenges.
We note here that the recent positive efforts made by regional states give hope. These include the continuation of confidence-building measures and improving coordination and cooperation among the regional states. One example are the meetings held between Burundi, Uganda, Angola, Zambia, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which resulted in agreements in several areas, including political consultations, natural resources, investment, and energy. The UAE encourages such endeavors.
We believe that achieving stability in the Great Lakes region in the long term requires continued commitment to implementing the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework and to addressing the root causes of conflicts, by:
First, continuing to strengthen regional efforts, dialogue, and support for confidence-building measures among the countries and leaders of the region. This will help ensure that the challenges they face are addressed in a comprehensive manner. We stress here the need to continue following the political track to facilitate consultations between leaders and parties to the conflict, including through the Nairobi process and the Luanda Road Map. It is important to study the progress made and best practices to support such processes. The role of regional and sub-regional organizations remains vital for supporting these efforts to secure peace and stability for the region.
Regional cooperation must also be intensified in order to address the cross-border threats posed by armed and terrorist groups to the security of the region, especially in terms of addressing the recruitment of foreign fighters in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Second, building the capacities of the regional states to sustainably manage their natural resources and to protect those resources from illegal exploitation, while taking into consideration the concerned countries’ preference to receive such support and assistance. Additionally, we encourage joint efforts to prevent armed and terrorist groups from using natural resource as revenue sources. Rather, we must ensure that revenues are used to serve, advance, and develop communities and support their security and stability, whether in the Great Lakes region or across the continent.
Third, the UAE stresses the importance of women playing an active role to build peaceful and prosperous societies that can withstand various challenges. This calls for following up on the joint work between the United Nations, the African Union, and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, and strengthening their close cooperation with regional women leaders to empower women in political processes and ensure their full, equal, and meaningful participation in all tracks, including social and economic, while providing them with the necessary protection and basic needs.
Finally, we underscore the urgent need to continue providing humanitarian aid to countries in the region, considering the worsening humanitarian crisis, the high levels of displacement and food insecurity as a result of violence in the region and the high prices of basic commodities around the world.
In conclusion, the UAE affirms its commitment to support the efforts of the United Nations and all regional partners, and other endeavors aimed at consolidating peace in the region, with the need to allow its peoples to take the lead in achieving prosperity and stability.
Thank you, Mr. President.