BUJUMBURA May 25th (ABP) – Following the visit of the President of the DRC, Mr. Felix Tshisekedi Tchilombo to Burundi from May 21 to 23, 2022, the Burundian and Congolese ministers of foreign relations say they are satisfied with the progress reached by the two brotherly and friendly countries in terms of strengthening the relations of friendship and cooperation.
Those two Heads of State once again underlined the importance of carrying out as soon as possible the bilateral projects of great importance for the interests of the Burundian and Congolese peoples, in particular the construction of bridges for vehicles and for pedestrians between the provinces of South Kivu and Cibitoke on the Rusizi River which separates the two countries, agricultural exploitation in the Rusizi plain through win-win partnerships as well as the rehabilitation and electrification of the Uvira-Bukavu- Goma to facilitate the mobility of goods and people as well as the cross-border market at the common border to facilitate trade between the two countries.
The Two Heads of State also welcomed the bilateral discussions held on February 23, 2022 in Kinshasa, on the sidelines of the 10th summit of the signatory countries of the Addis Ababa Framework Agreement for Peace, Security and Cooperation for DRC and the Region, welcoming the presidency of the 10th summit by the DRC this year 2022 as well as the hosting and organization of the 11th summit in Burundi in 2023.
With regard to the areas of peace and security; the two heads of state reaffirmed the commitment of the Nairobi summit of April 21, 2022 on the situation in the region in order to eradicate armed groups and other terrorist groups, to strengthen patrols and joint operations between the forces of defense and security of the two countries to fight in particular against all forms of organized cross-border crimes.
With regard to trade, in addition to the continued implementation of the Agreements signed, the two Heads of State underlined the importance of accelerating the mobilization within the tripartite framework (Burundi, DRC, Tanzania) of adequate funding for the construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR) Uvinza-Gitega -Bujumbura-Kindu which is of paramount importance for the movement of populations and goods between Burundi and the DRC as well as regional integration. They reiterated their determination to jointly carry out the feasibility and construction studies for this railway within the framework of the tripartite project.
At the level of regional cooperation, the Heads of State welcomed the accession of the DRC to the East African Community and expressed their wish to see Burundi’s application for membership of the SADC (Communauté de développement countries of southern Africa) will be achieved in the near future. After having noted the deplorable state of certain integrating projects of the economic community of the countries of the Great Lakes (CEPGL) in particular the Institute of agronomic and Zootechnical research (IRAZ), the two Heads of State discussed the future of that organization and its specialized institutions and expressed the wish to revitalize that regional framework which is struggling to recover after several years of immobility.
The two Heads of State welcomed their concordant opinions within the African Union on issues of peace and security and development in all their dimensions, continental initiatives in the fight against terrorism as well as the promotion of the Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECAF) whose ultimate objective is to increase intra-African trade and the mobility of citizens of the continent. They also commended the major role played by the African Union transition mission in Somalia, AMTIS in the fight against the terrorist group Shebab and condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack perpetrated against the peacekeepers of AMTIS in Somalia.