Three longtime foes agree to new peace mechanism

The foreign affairs ministers of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) agreed on Tuesday to create a tripartite commission to ensure that existing agreements concerning peace and security in the region would be properly implemented and that disagreements between the governments would be ironed out.

The ministers, Charles Murigande of Rwanda; Tom Butiime of Uganda; and Ramadhan Baya of DRC, agreed to meet every two months, Rwandan News Agency (RNA) reported.

At a news conference in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, the ministers spoke of a new era in regional relations. They would not be drawn into a discussion on current hostilities in Congo's North and South Kivu provinces, but RNA reported Baya as saying, "the [DRC] government encourages local authorities in Cyangugu [South-west Rwanda] and Bukavu [eastern DRC] to meet and resolve the issue".

Baya also said his government was committed to securing peace within its borders. The armies of Rwanda and Uganda invaded eastern DRC between 1998 and 2003 on the grounds that the central government in Kinshasa was not in control in the east. While there, the two armies fought each other.