KIGALI, Rwanda

The presidents of Rwanda, Uganda, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) discussed peace, security and diplomatic issues in the region on Wednesday in a virtual summit.

Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Angola’s Joao Lourenco, and Felix Tshisekedi of the DRC reaffirmed their commitment to cooperation in eradicating armed groups in the Great Lakes region, according to a communique issued at the end of the summit chaired from the northern DRC city of Kivu.

Agreeing on joint efforts to combat both regional and international networks that contribute to the exploitation and illicit trade of natural resources in the Great Lakes area, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the capacity of existing mechanisms to cut off funding sources for such actors.

There is no alternative to collective efforts to meet the many challenges and put an end to recurrent cycles of armed violence, President Tshisekedi said in his closing remarks.

Earlier, Rwanda’s Kagame said in his remarks that the countries sought to cooperate in fighting insecurity in the region to promote trade and investment.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has cost lives and disrupted economies, but close cooperation to mitigate its impact could help minimize damage and build capacity to withstand future pandemics, he said.

Noting that stability would be the catalyst for increased trade and investment, Kagame said it was in every country’s interest to address the underlying causes of conflict.

“We are obliged to meet via video conference, but the spirit of positive cooperation demonstrated by this meeting is clear. Rwanda is pleased to participate and make our contribution.”

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