"I am seeing a political will and an urgency for peace that has to be maintained," Mary Robinson, Special Envoy for Africa's Great Lakes Region, said Friday in the Burundi capital of Bujumbura, the latest stop on her Great Lakes mission.
"We have had regional agreements before. This time must be different. Now is the time for the implementation to begin," she said of the Peace Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.
Robinson said she met with Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza and welcomed his commitment to the peace plan. Robinson also met with regional envoys of the African Union and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, as well as with the leadership and staff of the U.N. Office in Burundi.
On Thursday, Robinson met with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, focusing on implementation of the accord signed by 11 nations in February to end the cycles of conflict and crisis in the eastern DRC.
The Ugandan capital of Kampala has been the site of talks between the DRC government and representatives of the 23 March Movement militant group, composed of former national army troops who named their group after a March 23, 2009, peace agreement they say has not been implemented.
M23 occupied the eastern city of Goma in November, which was widely condemned, and withdrew 11 days later. In March, the U.N. Security Council authorized deployment of an intervention brigade to carry out targeted offensive operations against armed groups that threaten peace in eastern DRC.