Robinson appointed special envoy to troubled Great Lakes region
Former president appointed by UN to Africa
Former president Mary Robinson has been appointed UN special envoy to the troubled Great Lakes region of Africa
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asked the UN Security Council to appoint her to the new role where her task will include helping to implement a recent peace deal aimed at ending years of conflict in eastern Congo.
The appointment of Mrs Robinson, who served as UN high commissioner for human rights between 1997 and 2002 after her time as President of Ireland, was supported by all Security Council members.
Leaders meeting in Mozambique last month approved the deployment of 4,000 peacekeepers to Congo following a peace accord signed by Congolese president Joseph Kabila, Rwandan president Paul Kagame and other leaders from the Great Lakes region in July 2012 to create an international military force to bring violence in eastern Congo to an end.
Mrs Robinson will help oversee the implementation of this peace agreement which has sought to end years of violence that has left more than 5.5 million people dead since 1998.
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said that Mrs Robinson’s skills and experience and her global profile and reputation made her an ideal choice for the role.
“Ireland has had a long and significant involvement in efforts to promote peace and stability in the Demogratic Republic of the Congo, a country which has for far too long endured conflict and tragedy,” he said.
“Ireland strongly supports the leadership offered by the United Nations, and in particular the personal diplomatic engagement of the Secretary General in this renewed effort to break the cycle of violence in eastern DRC.”
Mrs Robinson's appointment was confirmed as the government of Rwanda said that rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda, who was previously on the run in Congo, has turned himself in to the United States Embassy in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.
A US embassy official denied the reported surrender Ntaganda, who is suspected of war crimes in eastern Congo, which was revealed in a statement from Rwanda's foreign minister.
Almost three million people have fled the conflict since the middle of last year including about 2.5 million who have settled in Congo. More than 460,000 have crossed into neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda.