NAIROBI, April 28 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on different armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to embrace peace by laying down their weapons and work with President Felix Tshisekedi in nurturing peace and stability in the country.
Kenyatta in a recorded video statement delivered on Wednesday evening during a virtual Inter-Congolese Peace Dialogue convened by Kenya said the state of peace in Kenya and the rest of the East African Community (EAC) has been nurtured by perpetual, robust collaborative efforts.
"Without laying down weapons and forging an unbreakable national compact to secure the DRC, the fruits of prosperity that you all deserve from the teeming rich endowments will remain elusive," he said.
Representatives of over 30 armed groups participated in the talks being held in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, with the majority accepting the request of the two Heads of State to lay down arms while a few requested to be given more time to appraise themselves with the set conditions but expressed willingness to join hands in building their country.
The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed group linked to ISIL is considered the deadliest of dozens of armed militias that roam the mineral-rich eastern DRC.
The initiative is an outcome of recent Heads of State conclaves on the peace and security situation in DR Congo under the chairmanship of Kenyatta held on April 21.
The Kenyan leader emphasized that without working toward unity and cohesion among all the people of DRC, every separate section will remain a loser.
"This makes it urgent for all people of goodwill in the DRC to coalesce together and frantically set a foundation of prosperity by working tirelessly for an enduring peace," he told the Congolese.
Kenyatta assured DRC that Kenya is ready to extend optimal support to their common goal as they forge ahead to create a favorable environment to secure prosperity for the people.
"The DRC deserves to claim and assert its rightful place in Africa and the world at large. This is just but a first step toward that attainable goal. I thank you, each and every one of you, for heeding our call and seizing this opportunity," he said.
Kenyatta lauded President Tshisekedi and the armed groups in DRC for heeding Kenya's solidarity call on the peace dialogue and encouraged them to speak and harness all their efforts toward moving DRC forward.
On his part, Tshisekedi lauded the armed groups for agreeing to dialogue with his government, saying their positive response is an act of honor to their country.
The DRC leader expressed his readiness to listen and guarantee security of all armed groups, pointing out that DRC will only develop if it has a national military and police force that is keen on defending the interests of all citizens.
"I understand the different reasons that drew you to take up arms. However, to develop our country, we need to build and sustain national defence forces and police that are keen to defend the daughters and sons of DRC," Tshisekedi said.
He called on all armed groups to accept the process of disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and reinsertion to help in the reconstruction of the nation for the benefit of all Congolese citizens. ■