The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Dr. Vincent Biruta is in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where he is attending the 21st Summit of the Economic Community of Central African States -CEEAC, which opened today in the Congolese capital.
Dr. Biruta, joined other regional leaders and heads of government at the summit which was opened by DRC President, Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, the current president of the community known by its English acronym ECCAS.
The other Head of State in attendance was Central African President, Faustin-Archange Touadéra and President Carlos Manuel Villa Nova of São Tomé and Príncipe. Chadian President Général Mahamat Idriss Déby, who arrived in Kinshasa on Sunday, also attended the session.
Burundi was represented by the Vice President, Prosper Bazombanza while Gabon was represented by the Prime Minister, Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda, and Angola, by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Amb. Antonio Tete. Equatorial Guinea was represented by the Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue Teodorín, among other leaders.
“The 21st ordinary session of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of ECCAS opened on Monday in Kinshasa in the presence of the Head of State, Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, current president of the community,”
“During their meetings, the Heads of State and Government will analyze the report and the recommendations of the Council of Ministers and recommendations on monitoring ECCAS progress in security, regional integration and energy policy,” the DRC Presidency said.
The summit, which is themed “health, education and culture” is also expected to be attended by Moussa Faki Mahamat, President of the Commission of the African Union (AU), João Samuel Caholo, Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB).
Key on the agenda are security issues in the ECCAS region, particularly the situation in the host country and other member states which are grappling with security issues. Also on the agenda are economic and political issues which have hampering socio-economic development in the central African region.
Rwanda formally rejoined ECCAS in May 2015, eight years after pulling out of the bloc, citing the need to move to the East African Community (EAC). Upon rejoining ECCAS, President Paul Kagame said that it is even better for the country to be a member of different regional blocs where it can benefit economically, politically and diplomatically in many ways.
The meeting in Kinshasa comes at a time when tensions between Rwanda and DRC are high following the renewed outbreak in fighting in the eastern part of DRC. Last week, in Luanda, Angola, the mixed Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) between Rwanda and DRC, with the mediation of Angola, agreed on practical steps to de-escalate tensions.