Bujumbura, 3 May 2013 – Today in Burundi, Mary Robinson, the United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, urged leaders to keep up the “political will and urgency” to ensure that a new regional peace plan for the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo succeeds.
“I am seeing a political will and an urgency for peace that has to be maintained,” she said, adding: “We have had regional agreements before. This time must be different. Now is the time for the implementation to begin.”
The Special Envoy spoke to reporters after meeting with President Pierre Nkurunziza at the conclusion of a two-day visit as she continues a regional tour in which she has also held talks with the presidents of the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda.
The Special Envoy was appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to help the countries of the region carry out the Peace Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo signed by 11 nations in February 2013 – an agreement she has called a “framework of hope” for the peoples of the region.
The Special Envoy said she welcomed President Nkurunziza’s expressed commitment to the peace plan and to working with her as Special Envoy.
During her stay in Burundi, the Special Envoy also met with the Great Lakes peace envoys of both the African Union and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, as well as with the leadership and staff of the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB). She recognizes the importance of regional efforts to contribute to solutions, and looks forward to working in partnership toward the success of the Framework agreement.
The Special Envoy also held meetings in Burundi with civil society organizations, including women’s groups. She sees their involvement – not only that of governments – as crucial to ensuring the success of the Framework.
The Special Envoy continued to South Africa, where she will hold meetings including in Pretoria on Saturday with Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
For more on the agreement and the mandate of the Special Envoy, see “Framework of Hope”, a paper released by the Office of the Special Envoy in advance of this first visit to the region.
Jared Kotler, United Nations Department of Political Affairs; Mobile: +1-646-496-6075; Tel: +1-917-367-5264; Email: email@example.com