SA, DRC to solidify relations

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pretoria - South African and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is set to boost their existing ties during a Bi-National Commission (BNC) meeting between the two.

South Africa will host the DRC for a BNC meeting at the end of the month.

"South Africa will host this session of the SA-DRC BNC within the context of South Africa's commitment to assisting the people of DRC in their post-conflict reconstruction and development programme," said International Relations and Cooperation Director General, Ayanda Ntsaluba.

He said the BNC would strengthen the bilateral relations between the two while consolidating the African Agenda.

Issues on the agenda will include the status of cooperation in the political and diplomatic areas, including economy, finance and infrastructure co-operation, including spatial development initiatives, mining, technical assistance in financial administration and agriculture.

However, the violence in the eastern DRC might over shadow the agenda. South Africa might have to pressure DRC President Joseph Kabila to take action.

South Africa had greater legitimacy in the DRC than other countries because of its critical role in guiding the negotiations which led to the 2006 elections.

Human rights groups say that more than 1 000 civilians have been killed and nearly 900 000 displaced since January.

The DRC has over the past six years evolved as one of South Africa's growing main trading partners in the region.

Eastern DRC has been wracked by violence since Rwanda's 1994 genocide spilled war across the border.