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U.S. Supports Plan To End Lake Region Violence

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addresses participants during the signing ceremony of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes, at the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia's capital.

The Framework strives to address many of the root causes of instability and conflict in the region.

Seeking to break the cycle of violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC, countries in the Great Lakes region of Africa, including the DRC, signed the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Lakes region in February.

The Framework strives to address many of the root causes of instability and conflict in the region, and includes commitments by the DRC to undertake security sector and governance reform, including not supporting armed groups and respecting the territorial integrity of other countries.

The signing of the Framework launched a peace process that was later bolstered by UN Secretary General Ban’s appointment of Mary Robinson as the UN Special Envoy to the Great Lakes and by U.S. Secretary of State Kerry’s appointment of U.S. Special Envoy Russ Feingold.

In late July, the United Nations Security Council held a Ministerial Debate, chaired by Secretary Kerry, to challenge the Framework signatories to follow-through on their commitments for the betterment of all. In his remarks, Secretary Kerry said that the United States welcomes the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework, and stands ready to support the signatories. “But as President Obama said, there has to be follow-through:”

“All parties must immediately end their support for armed rebel groups. All governments must hold human rights violators and abusers accountable. We must end the era of impunity and that, unfortunately, has been rampant.”

We challenge all of those who have committed themselves to the framework to respect the national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the D.R.C.; to finalize the Framework benchmarks and to adopt them during the UN General Assembly in September; and to formally include the voices that have too often been excluded, particularly those of women, said Secretary of State Kerry.

“We pledge to join the Security Council, the D.R.C., regional governments, and the international community to do everything in our power to achieve a comprehensive peace accord,” he said. “The only way to properly honor the millions of lives that have been lost is through peace, and the only way to achieve that piece is for the United Nations, and all of the countries in the region, and all of the countries with the capacity to step up and help, to show the way forward.”