MPs vow to speed up regional peace

In efforts to foster peace, legislators from three Great Lakes countries resolved on Friday to follow up and get involved in the implementation of peace treaties agreed upon by governments in the region.

"We have agreed to identify and collect all the agreements that have already been signed by the respective governments in terms of security and conflict resolution," the Members of Parliament said in a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day meeting in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

The MPs, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, had met under an umbrella organisation of the Great Lakes parliamentary forum on peace, known as AMANI forum, to work out ways of accelerating peace in the region.

"We want to follow up and get involved in the implementation of agreements signed by the respective governments," the forum said.

The 600-member AMANI forum groups together parliamentarians from Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

The Great Lakes region has been marred by conflict since Rwanda's 1994 genocide, in which up to 937,000 people were killed.

A Ugandan MP and president of the AMANI forum, Nobert Mao, told IRIN that the legislators had agreed to hold their respective governments accountable for the implementation of the already signed peace agreements.

"We need action taken in terms of accelerating peace in our region," Mao said.

Despite numerous agreements signed between the governments of DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, tensions continue, with threats of war.

A delegate told IRIN that the legislators' meeting turned stormy when DRC delegates accused the Ugandan and Rwandan governments of maintaining troops on their territory.

However, the MPs agreed to push their governments to take appropriate measures to check the circulation and proliferation of guns in the region.