Friday, November 23, 2012

DR Congo: ICGLR Goma starts today

New Times ( Rwanda ) reports

10 Presidents expected in Kampala for DRC talks.
Members of the a regional evaluation military team that was mandated to determine the capacity of the DRC rebels before the internatonal force is deployed.

A Summit of Heads of State of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), called to discuss the conflict in eastern DRC, is expected to open today in the Ugandan capital Kampala.

At least 10 presidents from the Great Lakes region are expected to attend the emergency talks.

I have called these discussions a talkfest before todays metting will at least have some urgency to it.

This is a sixth meeting becomes the sixth summit to be held this year in an effort to find a solution to the conflict that broke out in April this year following a mutiny that was staged by a group of officers formerly with the national armed forces.

Sources said the meeting is expected to address themselves to the United Nations Security Council for approval of the deployment of the proposed 4,000-strong international neutral force from Tanzania, Kenya, DR Congo and Angola.

I would suggest that they will have needed to have done a lot of preliminary work over the last few months for this to have a snowball chance in hell of working. I have seen no evidence of that. It is interesting to note that the President of Tanzania didn't attend the last summit on the issue having instead a meeting in Canada  to discuss Chinese investment in Africa. There is a very strong message in that I would suggest.

Tanzania has already pledged 500 soldiers for the mission and is likely to command the force.

“All the eleven ICGLR Heads of State were invited and we hope will attend this important summit that seeks to find a solution to the eastern DRC conflict,” Uganda’s State Minister for Regional Cooperation, Asuman Kiyingi told The New Times in an interview.

The Kampala meeting comes days after Presidents Paul Kagame, Joseph Kabila of Congo and Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda who is the ICGLR chair, demanded that M23 rebels withdraw from the Eastern DRC capital Goma.

But the rebels are adamant until Kabila’s government agrees to hold talks with them.

This if it happens which I am still sceptical of, might alter the balance, but it needs to happen fast.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, African Union Commission chairperson, is also expected to attend the meeting.

The summit was preceded by a number of meetings in the last few days, where reports by military experts have been submitted to ICGLR Ministers of Defence on the strength of armed groups in the DRC. The conflict has left hundreds of thousands of Congolese displaced, mostly fleeing to Rwanda and Uganda.

The borders are closed by all acounts bribes are working. I have heard accounts of Angolan troops in Bakavu circulating amongst the NZ ex-pat Congolese community I can't confirm this and recommend it be treated with caution at this stage. I am talking to people in an effort confirm / deny it.

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