If all goes well, eleven heads of state (or their delegates) will gather in Addis Ababa to sign the snazzily-titled: "Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region" (PSCFDRCR?)
What can we expect for this framework? An early copy I have seen suggests that it provides more questions than answers, although it does raise hope and expectations. (The copy is here.)
The two-and-a-half page deal rests on two pillars: Reforming the Congolese state, and ending regional meddling in the Congo. It then creates two oversight mechanism to make sure the eleven signatories take these imperatives seriously, with four organizations (UN, AU, ICLGR, SADC) as guarantors. As such, it marks an improvement in engagement in the conflict: there is a recognition that violence in the Kivus is deeply linked to national and regional developments, and it allows for neutral arbiters to hold the signatories accountable. Perhaps most importantly, we now have the formal involvement of the UN and a bunch of other eminent organizations in an official deal, which should mean there will be follow-up at the highest level.
So is this a peace process? I have often complained that, while violence has escalated over the past years in the Kivus, the last genuine peace process--with comprehensive peace deal, a strong mediation, and good donor coordination in support--ended in 2006. So are we back in a peace process?[view whole blog post ]