By SYLVESTER MWALE in LUANDA, Angola –
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu is today expected here to attend an extra-ordinary summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) aimed at finding solutions to five out of the 12 member states that have been rocked in internal conflicts.
Meanwhile, some secretariat staff of the ICGLR have been detained in Burundi in connection with recent protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term bid.
President Lungu is scheduled to join other heads of State at a one-day summit set for Luanda’s Talanova Hotel where a number of issues relating to peace and security in the region are expected to be discussed.
Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba told journalists yesterday that President Lungu would take part in the summit which would also look at the humanitarian situation in countries that are experiencing conflicts.
About five countries out 12 comprising the Great Lakes Region are currently struggling with insecurity and humanitarian crisis.
Therefore, expectations would be high in the region as the heads of State meet to find a solution to the problems.
Mr Kalaba joined fellow Foreign Affairs ministers from the region on Friday evening where a number of recommendations were made in readiness for the summit tomorrow.
“It is true that we took note that the region has been turbulent and that we have to take affirmative action towards resuscitating peace and tranquility in the region, so the heads of State will look at the situation of the region as well,” he said.
He said the inter-ministerial conference had been informed that a number of ICGLR employees had been detained in Bujumbura and the ministers would hand over the matter to the presidents’ summit to address it.
“We looked at the situation in Burundi visa-vis the coup that was reported to have taken place and we made recommendations to the heads of State that a group of foreign ministers in the Great Lake Region travel to Bujumbura to go and discuss with authorities,” he said.
“But also, some of our workers who are working for the secretariat working for the ICGLR have been detained, we have escalated this matter to the heads of State so that they can deal with it,” added Mr
Kalaba, who could not reveal the nationalities of those involved for security reasons.
Apart from the situation in Bujumbura, Mr Kalaba said the extra-ordinary summit would also look at the progress made in the disarmament of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and reintegration process into the Rwandan army.
Mr Kalaba said the elections in the Central African Republic, which were initially set for next month, had been pushed to December this year due to lack of adequate funds.
He said the region had agreed to raise US$20 million required to hold the general election.
CAR has been polarised with Muslims and Christians pulling in different directions, creating a big humanitarian situation. Zambia has contributed 750 troops in the peace keeping mission there.