Leaders from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) came together on May 8, 2023, at an Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit (EO-OTS) in Windhoek, Namibia, to discuss the prevailing security situation in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Attendees included Heads of State and Government from Angola, DRC, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia.
The Summit expressed concern about the unstable security situation in the Eastern DRC and the resurgence of M23 rebels. They also called for an immediate cessation of hostilities by all armed groups and a withdrawal from the currently occupied areas. In addition, the Summit approved the deployment of a SADC force in support of the DRC to restore peace and security in the Eastern DRC.
The Summit acknowledged the loss of lives during armed conflicts in the Eastern DRC and Malawi following the loss of lives and infrastructure due to tropical cyclone Freddy. They expressed deep condolences to the government and the people of the DR Congo. The Summit also approved a common position to have a more coordinated approach given the multiple deployment and multilateral and bilateral arrangements in the Eastern DRC. They urged the government of DR Congo to put in place the necessary conditions and measures for effective coordination among sub-regional forces and bilateral partners operating in the DRC.
The African Union Commission expressed support for the Quadripartite Summit to coordinate the peace process in DR Congo. The Summit acknowledged the expression of gratitude to the President of DR Congo, Félix Tshisekedi, who is also the SADC Chairperson, for continued support, collaboration, and cooperation toward attaining lasting peace and security in the Eastern DR Congo.
In his opening remarks, the SADC Chair of Organ Troika Extra-Ordinary Summit plus the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs), Dr. Hage Geingob, expressed commitment to deal with political threats in the region and put in place relevant structures. He also vowed to continue strengthening them to bring about the desired results of safeguarding the region’s peace and stability.
Overall, the Summit agreed to provide unwavering support in the fight against armed groups in the Eastern DRC, paving the way for sustainable peace, security, and prosperity of the country’s people and the region.