The head of state was speaking as president of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), at the close of the second Luanda Summit on Peace and Security in CAR, which served to reiterate "in the strongest terms" that member states reject the reality of permanent conflict in the sub-region.
"We are now faced with the possibility of defining a framework within which to put into action the mechanisms for implementing the understandings reached with the armed opposition, which agreed to abandon the path of war in order to participate in the materialization of a serious process of disarmament, demobilization, reinsertion and reiteration," said João Lourenço.
According to the president of the ICGLR, the legitimate government, led by President Faustin Archange Touadéra will have the crucial role in conducting all acts leading to the effective realization of the provisions stipulated in the Khartoum Agreement.
The Khartoum Agreement, reached under mediation of the African Union, was signed in 2019 in Sudan between the CAR government and representatives of 14 armed groups, which have under control part of the territory.
"I am convinced that the interest and engagement with which the countries of the region have engaged in this effort to resolve the conflict in the Central African Republic will not change, so that it can not only act as a guarantor of compliance with the commitments made by the parties, but also contribute with the means within the reach of each one, in order to ensure the sustainability of peace," said Lourenço.
The chief executive stressed the need to make it clear to the people of the CAR that "the sole motivation behind all the steps taken so far by the current presidency of the ICGLR and the Economic Community of Central African States [ECCAS] is to contribute to the final settlement of the conflict, always and without any hesitation safeguarding peace, stability, social progress, and economic development of the Central African Republic.
"There is no doubt that an important step has been taken, but not the last, many others must come, so this is an opportunity that the parties must not waste," said João Lourenço, making "a vibrant appeal to the rebel forces and civil opposition to act in good faith, corresponding to the gesture of goodwill that President Touadéra will continue to make.
A work in harmony, with President Touadéra at the head, with the support of the ICGLR, the CEAAC and the African Union, "is important", stressed João Lourenço, for the establishment of a clear roadmap, framed in the spirit of the United Nations resolutions and that guarantees the permanent dialogue and consultation with the political actors and the civil society, in order to energize the Khartoum Agreement.
"The leadership of this process should be assumed by the country itself, the Central African Republic, and we will be at its side to give it all the necessary support for the success of this challenge, which we believe is getting closer and closer to a happy outcome," he stressed.
The president of the ICGLR pointed out the need to take steps with the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in favor of the definitive lifting of the arms embargo, which is still imposed on the Central African Republic.
The presidents of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, and president of CEEAC, of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, and of CAR, Faustin Archange Touadéra, as well as representatives from Chad, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, participated in the summit.