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Four more countries join regional conference initiative

Country Map - Great Lakes IRIN
Four more countries have been accepted as "core" members to the UN-African Union (AU) International Conference on the Great Lakes region, bringing the number of core countries to 11, the office of Ibrahima Fall, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the Great Lakes, reported on Friday. The new entrants - Angola, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo and Sudan - will "usher in a fresh dynamism to the process which has already had a vibrant start", Fall's office said. Requests by the four countries to be core members correlates with the fact they have always been directly impacted by events within the Great Lakes region, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan proposed the international conference on the region in an effort to find lasting solutions to the "multiple and endemic problems facing the region", Fall's office reported. The UN and the AU are co-sponsoring the conference. Fall was quoted as saying he hoped the views of the new member states would further enrich the process and broaden the geographical and political scope of the four themes of the international conference. The themes are: peace and security; democracy and governance; economic development and regional integration; as well as humanitarian and social issues. Fall's office reported that although the new entrants had been taking part in previous meetings as co-opted members, their full participation was fully expected for the second regional preparatory committee meeting, scheduled from 19 to 23 October in Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC. Besides the new members, the core countries of the International Conference on the Great Lakes region are Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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