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Mary Robinson and international envoys visit the Great Lakes to de-escalate tensions

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After visiting Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda last week, Mary Robinson and fellow international envoys have issued a joint statement condemning recent violence and calling on armed groups to work towards a political solution.

Mary Robinson, in her capacity as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, concluded a four-day joint mission to the region late last week alongside fellow envoys from the UN, African Union, European Union and the United States.

The envoys travelled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda from 3 to 7 September. They aimed to bolster peace efforts and de-escalate tensions in eastern DRC and the Great Lakes region. Over the past year, the fighting between DRC national forces and armed groups has displaced more than 100,000 people and worsened the humanitarian crisis in the region.

The visit took place during a period of renewed hostilities. At the conclusion of their mission, the envoys issued a joint statement emphasising that the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework signed earlier this year represents the best opportunity for peace, and called on all armed groups to prioritise a political solution.

Condemning the recent shelling in the eastern DRC city of Goma as well as in Rwanda, the envoys urged the parties in the region to work with MONUSCO, the UN’s mission in the DRC, to investigate the incidents.

Mary Robinson will brief the UN Security Council on developments in the region on 12 September.

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