Thursday, December 6, 2012

DR Congo: " Jaw jaw is better than war war "

New Vision reports

M23 rebels, Kabila agree to talks in Kampala

By Raymond Baguma

The Congolese M23 rebels have agreed to hold peace talks with the Congolese government led by President Joseph Kabila in Kampala.

According to the Associated Press, Bertrand Bisimwa, the spokesman for the M23 political branch, the group will come to Uganda for talks.

The Congolese interior minister, Richard Muyej Mangez, told the French news agency AFP that negotiations would open “in the next few days,” although he gave no specific start date.

According to AFP, Mangez said the Congolese government would send a “full team”, including leaders of key institutions, civil society leaders and members of the national assembly and senate.

This comes after M23 withdrew from Goma last week and the return of the Congolese army, under the oversight of Uganda and Rwanda.

Uganda’s chief of defence forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, is presently leading military chiefs to assess progress made to implement resolutions of the recently held International Conference on the Great Lakes Region Heads of State meeting.

The M23 leader, Jean Marie Runiga, said he had been contacted by the Ugandan government about the imminent Kampala peace talks, but the group is yet to receive details of the programme.

Runiga said the rebels were “ready” for talks, which are expected to include demands for major political reforms in the country.

He also said the closure of the Uganda-Congo border at Bunagana could affect the travel of the M23 delegation to attend the Kampala talks.

However, efforts to get comments from Ugandan officials were unsuccessful by press time. State ministers Oryem Okello (international affairs) and Asuman Kiyingi (regional affairs) did not answer their phones


Gen. Aronda in DRC to assess peace progress

By Raymond Baguma & Agencies

The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, is in Goma, along with military chiefs from DR Congo and Rwanda to assess progress of efforts aimed at ending the conflict there.

The military chiefs are assessing the progress made in implementing resolutions of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) heads of state meeting that took place in Kampala last week.

According to Rwanda’s New Times newspaper, Gen. Aronda on Monday chaired a meeting in Goma, which was also attended by Congolese Lt. Gen. Didier Etumba and Rwanda’s Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga, who have been overseeing the withdrawal of the M23 rebels. They have withdrawn and been replaced by the Congolese army and police.

During the meeting, the defence chiefs received reports on M23’s withdrawal from Goma. The reports were presented by the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) and the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism that comprises ICGLR member states and is commanded by Uganda’s Brig. Geoffrey Muheesi.

Speaking to New Vision in a phone interview on Tuesday, the M23 president Jean Marie Runiga said he had been contacted by the Ugandan government that negotiations were scheduled to begin in Kampala today.

However, Runiga requested Uganda to reopen its border in Bunagana in order to enable the group travel to Kampala for imminent talks with the Congo government.

However, efforts to get comments from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kampala were unsuccessful by press time. Neither the foreign affairs state minister Oryem Okello nor the permanent secretary, James Mugume, answered their phones.

Runiga also said the closure of the border could affect the travel of the M23 delegation to attend the imminent negotiations in Kampala with the Kinshasa government.

However, Oryem told the New Times on Tuesday that behind-the-scenes consultations are in progress and peace talks will begin soon after consultations with different parties are over. The consultations centre on how the meetings should run.

Neither story tells us anything substantive. But both are positive news. Getting the border open should be a priority. Friday negotiations seems a bit rushed to me. Also the size of the DR Congo delegation seems ridiculous. I am not sure if it is to flatter or intimidate. 

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