Sunday, June 9, 2013

DR Congo: The elusive peace talks.

New Times ( Rwanda ) reports

DRC, M23 peace talks to resume in Kampala

The M23 Head of Communications, M Bertrand Bisiimwa (right) during discussions with some of the members of his delegation during the ongoing Kampala talks.

Talks aimed at ending fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between government troops and the M23 rebels could resume next week.
Actually I doubt this very much. The past weeks have seen a ratcheting up of hostilities between both sides. The Kampala talks are dead and I can't see any real advantage to either side in resuscitating them. Jason Stearns at Congo Saisa opines. 
" Is this because Kampala is dead? It would seem so––the negotiations have been on hold for weeks now, and the M23 has withdrawn, it says, until there is an official ceasefire. It suffices to look at the various proposals on the table there at the moment to see how far apart the two sides are."

Though the Uganda People’s Defence Forces Spokesperson Col. Paddy Ankunda who advises the facilitator of the dialogue, Uganda’s Defence Minister Dr. Chrispus Kiyonga, could neither confirm nor deny the resumption of the talks this week, a top M23 delegate confirmed the news.
RenĂ© Abandi, the head of M23’s negotiating team told The New Times in an interview yesterday that his seven-man delegation was on its way from DRC to Kampala ahead of the talks on Wednesday.
“We hope to arrive in Kampala tomorrow (today) evening for the talks,” Abandi said.

The problem is that there seems to be very little to talk about. The Kinshasa attitude seems to be staying in a holding pattern waiting for the increasingly mythical MONUESCO Africa Brigade to show up. M23 on the other hand have been trying to establish a strangle hold over Goma in an apparent effort to make sure the Africa Brigade don't show up.  Charly Kasereka drew our attention to this last week.

He said that his team fully supports UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s recommendation on finding a solution to the crisis in the eastern DRC through political dialogue.
Unconfirmed reports also indicated yesterday that the DRC government delegation would arrive in Kampala on Tuesday ahead of the talks on Wednesday.

I guess time will tell.

Will the talks provide a solution?
Dr Fredrick Golooba Mutebi, a researcher and political analyst argues that it is important that the DRC government addresses the core issues of the M23 rebels on guaranteeing the citizenship of Congolese Rwandophones.
“Why should there be an option of integrating M23 fighters into the national army and not their leaders? There should be a comprehensive solution to this problem,” he said.

Under the Kinshasa position all M23 ranks up to lieutenant can integrate automatically into the the Congolese army ( FARDC ) and senior officers on a case by case basis. Acording to Jason Stearns this will lead to about 90 % of the M23 officers being excluded. M23 not to be outdone in the batshit crazy stakes have proposed a 5 year integration delay in which they will do dome joint operations with FARDC against mutual enemies, who might well have been and may be allies again.  

UN welcomes talks
Mary Robinson, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, has welcomed the talks.
In a statement, a copy of which The New Times has obtained, she urged both sides to engage in earnest in their discussions in order to resolve all outstanding issues in the negotiations and to move toward the normalisation of the situation in the eastern DRC. 

When ? I think New Times might have done a bit better than tell of us of a documents existence but give us no date.

Robinson underscored the importance of political efforts to achieve peace and security for the people of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.
Again when ? She has been doing rather a lot of that, yet without a date there is no way to judge the credibility of the story.
The talks in Kampala are under the auspices of the Chairperson of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda.
Something I am sure he is not happy about given the farce the talks have turned into.

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