BUJUMBURA July 15th (ABP) – On the occasion of the State visit of Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from July 12 to 14, 2021, the Burundian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, Mr Albert Shingiro, and the Minister of Regional Integration of the DRC, Didier Mazenga, issued a joint press release relating to that visit.
According to the communiqué, the visit was part of the strengthening of the excellent relations of friendship, brotherhood and cooperation that exist between the two countries. During that visit, the two Heads of State had fruitful one-to-one talks followed by broad talks on issues of common interest at bilateral, regional and international levels, and during which channels and means of deepening and diversifying the ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries were exploited.
Regarding bilateral relations, the two Heads of State stressed the interest in running projects of great importance for their two respective peoples in the development of trade and mobility of the respective peoples. These include the construction of bridges for vehicles and for pedestrians between the provinces of South Kivu in the DRC and Cibitoke in Burundi on the Rusizi / Ruzizi River, the agricultural exploitation in the Rusizi / Ruzizi plain as well as the rehabilitation and electrification of the Bujumbura-Uvira-Bukavu-Goma road.
According to the press release, it was in this context that a bilateral meeting was held between the delegations of the two countries and that several agreements and memoranda aimed at re-launching and consolidating cooperation were signed. These include agreements and memoranda relating to the development of the Gitega-Uvira-Kindu Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), trade, the maintenance and strengthening of peace, defense and security as well as political and diplomatic consultation.
At the regional level, President Evariste Ndayishimiye reiterated his unwavering support for the DRC’s candidacy for membership of the East African Community. On his part, the President of the DRC, Mr Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, expressed the unconditional support of the DRC for Burundi’s candidacy for membership in SADC.
At the continental level, President Evariste Ndayishimiye congratulated his Congolese counterpart for the enlightened leadership of the presidency of the African Union, particularly in the resolution of African conflicts by peaceful means and adapted to the African context. The two Heads of State congratulated each other for the ratification by their countries of the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECAF).
At the international level, they reiterated their attachment to the principles of the United Nations Charter, in particular those relating to respect for the sovereignty, political independence, non-interference and territorial integrity of member States. They stressed the need to strengthen regional and sub-regional integration organizations to which the two countries are all members in the promotion and building of peace, security, stability and sustainable development.
In that regard, the two Heads of State decided to activate with determination the concerted mechanisms aimed at eradicating armed groups operating on Congolese territory and to closely monitor all issues relating to border security in the two neighboring States. They also made a strong appeal to the international community to invest more in the peaceful resolution of security and humanitarian crises in the region and in other conflict zones in Africa in order to silence the guns on the continent by 2030 in line with the African Union’s agenda 2063.
The Burundian President took that opportunity to invite his counterpart of the DRC to pay a friendly visit to Burundi and the latter accepted the invitation with pleasure and the dates of that visit will be determined by mutual agreement through diplomatic channels.