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DRC, Burundi in peace and security rapprochement

By Mwangi Maina | October 6th 2020 at 17:10:32 GMT +0300

Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye and DRC foreign affairs minister Marie Ntumba Nzeza in Bujumbura. [Courtesy]

The Democratic Republic of Congo took its diplomatic charm offensive to Burundi at the weekend, with the visit coming barely a month after a regional meet aborted for a second time.

Kinshasa is angling to assuage the drawbacks of a no-show at the Great Lakes Region Heads of State summit now slated for October 7 in Goma, North Kivu.

On Sunday, the mineral-rich nation dispatched its foreign affairs minister Marie Ntumba Nzeza to broker bilateral engagements with Burundi.

At the top of Ms Nzeza's to-do-list was discussions on the elusive peace and security of the region.

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A recent government-led military operation against rebels in the Ituri region of the DRC has caused hundreds of thousands to flee the region, amid a mounting death toll on both sides.

Sources familiar with the DRC-Burundi talks told Standard Digital that the two Great Lakes region neighbours engaged on securing their common border at Gatumba village and committed to strengthening peace.

The talks were held in Bujumbura on Monday, the sources disclosed.

They also discussed the promotion of bilateral trade, management of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as other matters of common interest affecting them.

The teams were led by Burundi foreign affairs minister Ambassador Albert Shingiro and his DRC counterpart Ms Nzeza.

Amb. Shingiro praised the friendship and cooperation accorded to Burundi by DRC, vowing to strengthen the diplomatic relations.

According to a joint-communique signed by the two ministers, the delegations identified challenges facing Burundi and DRC and made fundamental recommendations on how to resolve them.

They vowed to establish a framework that will assist in the smooth exchange of information between their administrative authorities and initiate regular military and police peer meetings.

Kinshasa and Bujumbura also agreed to rehabilitate the Bukavu-Uvira road to facilitate the flow of goods and people between Burundi, DRC, Tanzania and Rwanda.

The road links two important lakes in the region, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Kivu.

Peace elections

Ms Nzeza also met President Evariste Ndayishimiye during the two-day visit to whom she delivered a message of goodwill from President Felix Tshisekedi.

DRC lauded her host for organising a ''free, fair and peaceful general election. ''

Burundi DRC Diplomacy Peace
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