Daily News  :: Central Africa

Irish to support stabler Great Lakes

Published: 23-NOV-06

Kinshasa - Ireland has pledged to play a more active role in supporting demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants back into society in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

"The consolidation of peace in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Burundi which are just emerging from years of conflict represents a crucial task for all in the international community," Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said.

He said Ireland had decided to join the Multi-Country Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme (MDRP) and is pledging initial support of €500 000 ($640mn).

"Ireland is already extensively engaged in supporting the building of peace in the Great Lakes region," Ahern said.

"Joining the MDRP will enable Ireland to make a direct contribution to one of the most important peace-building tasks facing the Great Lakes, namely assisting former combatants and their families to return to their communities and resume normal lives."

The MDRP is a partnership involving the countries of the Great Lakes region, donors, the United Nations, and the World Bank which administers the programme.

The largest programme of its kind in the world, MDRP currently targets an estimated 350 000 former combatants in seven countries: Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the DRC, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. Sapa-AFP

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