UK's Short on mission to shore up peace process

UK Secretary of State for International Development Clare Short arrived in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, on Monday to shore up recent peace developments between Rwanda and neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), ahead of Tuesday's scheduled signing of an accord between their respective presidents, Paul Kagame and Joseph Kabila, in Pretoria, South Africa, an official with the Africa Great Lakes and Horn Department of the UK Department for International Development told IRIN.

After meetings with Rwandan government officials "to ensure genuine commitment" to the peace process, Short would travel to South Africa on Tuesday for the signing of the accord, the official said. A meeting was also planned with South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma to discuss current efforts to reach a ceasefire in Burundi. Zuma, together with Gabonese President Omar Bongo, is a joint mediator in the current Burundi peace process.

Short is then scheduled to be in Kinshasa, capital of the DRC, on Wednesday to meet Kabila. She will return to UK later on Wednesday.

Short was in Uganda on Sunday, the Kampala independent daily newspaper Monitor reported on Monday, though details of her agenda were unavailable. The paper reported that Short had been instrumental in trying to mend Uganda's turbulent relationship with Rwanda, having engineered the current "peace" between the two countries by getting their presidents to meet in London.