International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGRL)
Republic of Angola
Ministry of External Relations
National Secretariat for the Great Lakes Region
Address by His Excellency José Eduardo Dos Santos, President of the Republic of Angola, at the Extraordinary Summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGRL)
Luanda, 18 May 2015
Your Excellencies the Heads of State and Government.
Your Excellencies the members of their delegations,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I thank Your Excellencies and dear brothers and sisters for accepting my invitation to attend this Summit. It is always with great pleasure that I receive you in Luanda and hope that you will again appreciate the warm hospitality of the Angolan people and confirm the friendship they feel for you and for your peoples and countries.
We are meeting here to analyse and deliberate on the reports of the meetings of the Ministers of Defence and chiefs of general staff and of the information and security services of the member countries of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region held in this city a few days ago.
It is easy to see that the prevailing situation in our region still requires great care and obliges us to strengthen steps to the threats to peace and security in some of the countries within it, with inevitable repercussions on other member states.
In the Republic of Burundi, where a pre-election crisis led to violent clashes, we strongly condemn the attempted coup d’état and hail tje defence of constitutional order by the forces loyal to the President of the Republic, whose legitimacy cannot be denied.
There is a need her to restore dialogue rapidly in order to create conditions, with the support of the region, so that the planned legislative and presidential elections are held in an orderly, transparent and credible manner and the will expressed by the electors in the polls is then respected.
In the Central African Republic, despite some uncertainties, there is moderate optimism bout the possibility of effectively putting into effect the process of peace, reconciliation and stabilisation in the country. We welcome the progress made in the last few weeks, but it is necessary to continue to support the Transitional Government and the mediator of the peace process, in order to include in the process armed groups still acting in certain zones outside the control of the government.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of South Sudan, where the governments are continuing military action against the negative forces, it is also important, together with international bodies like the United Nations and the African Union, to seek a peaceful and negotiated settlement to end, once and for all, the plunder of natural resources and the violence of the rebel groups against the civilian population and create conditions for democratic elections.
I request Your Excellencies to add to our agenda as a crucial issue the phenomenon of terrorism and to consider very seriously how to prevent and fight it. The massacre of about 150 students in Kenya and other terrorist acts perpetrated by the Al Shabah group are crimes we strongly condemn.
This method is unacceptable for the solution of political or any other kind of problems. On behalf of you all, I repeat my sincerest condolences to the Kenyan people and government and to all the families bereaved by these tragic events.
I suggest expanding and strengthening the regional mechanisms for fighting terrorism by means of closer cooperation between out information and intelligence gencies and more effective control over cross border movement of illegal immigrants.
This does not mean that we shouod have a xenophobic attitude towards citizens of other states, whether African or from outside the continent, who seek refuge or who wish to contribute legally and honestly to the development of our countries.
It just means improving our services, to make them capable of applying and ensuring respect for all our laws and regulations. Through the concerted efforts of all member states of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, we will be able to establish a climate of peace, concord, stability and security within and outside our frontiers, as a precondition for increasing our cooperation for the benefit of our peoples.
An important stage in this joint effort must start with the scrupulous fulfilment of our obligations in respect of financial resources, Member states should make an effort to regularise their contributions, as agreed at previous summits, This is fundamental to the maintenance and normal running of our organisation.
The political and military situation prevailing in some of our countries is in fact worrying, but it can be overcome. We must continue to combine our efforts, implement decisions taken consistently and with good sense and neutralise external interference.
The best road to development and the wellbeing of our populations is the road of concord, understanding and reconciliation, and the adoption of development plans suited to our historical realities.
With these words, I declare this Summit open.
I repeat my welcome to Your Excellencies and hope that this Summit will be crowned with success.