UNITED NATIONS, Angola has stressed the need for Africa’s Great Lakes region to return to the path of sustainable development through strong leadership, political will, proper functioning of institutions and building of countries in the region.

This was stated by Angolan Minister of Foreign Affairs Georges Chikoti at a United Nations Security Council debate here Monday on Peace and International Security, prevention and resolution of conflicts at the Great Lakes region, a session which he chaired and which was attended by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, among other dignitaries.

Chikoti said the high levels of economic growth in the region had not brought about development and tangible improvements in the lives of the citizens. The persistence of conflicts, whose causes revolved around economic, regional and global geo-political causes, had resulted in very expensive socio-economic and human costs, generating a vicious cycle of violence, he added.

The link between natural resources and conflicts was fundamental in the formulation of appropriate responses and mitigation measures, said Chikoti, who advocated the effective participation of citizens and communities in the socio-economic and political choices, decentralisation of services, transparency in the public sector and management of finances.

In this context, he asserted, the initiative of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) against the illegal exploration of natural resources was a concrete example of a concerted action in this area. He called for the redoubling of efforts and support for the ICGLR in these efforts.

He added that Angola, the current Chair of the ICGLR, continued to make sustainable efforts to contribute to realising the objectives for the sub-regional grouping, just like other institutions and organizations.

Maintaining peace in Africa’s Great Lakes region was an important objective to be achieved through open dialogue, he said, while stressing that the region had what was needed for it to take a new path sustainable and equitable development.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the session of the need for the various agreements signed under the ambit of the ICGLR to be respected and thoroughly implemented.

The session also heard interventions from Saidi Djinnit, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to the Great Lakes Region, the Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, Smail Chergui, and the World Bank’s Country Manager in Sierra Leone, Vijay Pillai.