Monday, September 16, 2013

DR Congo: Note to the UN STFU you morons.

UN: defeat forced M23 into talks with Congo

UN chief says Congolese and UN troops beat rebel fighters in clashes, lifting threat of attack against city of Goma.

                                                                     UN peacekeepers have been battling M23 rebels [Reuters]

Congolese and United Nations troops pushed back the M23 rebel group, forcing it back to the negotiating table and removing a threat to the city of Goma, the UN peacekeeping chief has said.

Well that is half true. The bit about pushing back the rebel group.  

Herve Ladsous on Thursday called the military action a "very significant achievement" that inflicted casualties on the M23 and likely led the rebels to resume talks with the government in neighboring Uganda's capital, Kampala.

Actually the rebels were in Kampala waiting for the Congolese Government to return to negotiations. Back in June I blogged.

" 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 MONUSCO Africa Brigade to show up. M23 on the other hand have been trying to establish a stranglehold 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. "
As far as I know the team from Kampala didn't show and M23 have been waiting in Kampala since June. This situation came about due to a political misjudgement by Uganda and Rwanda who thought they would be able to control the deployment of the Africa Brigade that has since morphed into the Intervention Brigade.
But beneath the surface of the summit, held under the umbrella of the 11-member International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), was a concerted effort by the major players, especially Rwanda and Uganda, to shift the focus of the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) back to a negotiated deal, even as consensus around an exceptional United Nations military-backed intervention deepens.
Just to ram home the point M23 rebel leader Bertrand Bisiimwa from March 18 2013 
 " They want to make another mistake in Congo. Our people do not want war. If the UN brings drones and soldiers to fight, we shall not accept. War is not a solution, but dialogue for peace. The UN should support the Kampala talks, so that we have a peace agreement soon.

My vision is not for myself, but to bring peace and good governance to the country. I will make sure the talks resume and we reach an agreement. I will tell the people why we are fighting so that we stop existing on paper only. My predecessor did not do much to build institutions but I have already started.

More yawns."

M23 has been desperate to restart talks because it has been obvious to all that they could not win on the ground.

"The M23 group has been pushed back towards the north to such a place that it does not any more pose the direct threat that it had posed for such a long time either on the city of Goma'' or surrounding camps for displaced people and UN positions, the AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

M23, which the United Nations says has received support from neighboring Rwanda, launched an assault on Goma last month, sparking fierce battles with government forces.

Aided by UN peacekeeping troops and the new UN intervention brigade, Congolese troops pounded rebel positions and reclaimed several areas that had been occupied by the M23 until the rebels unexpectedly declared a cease-fire, saying they wanted to resume talks.

In a Security Council meeting, Ladsous said that with the resumption of talks "diplomacy has become again the order of the day."

Well it always was for M23 but it sure as hell isn't from the perspective of the people of Goma and for that matter the rest of the DR Congo. The feedback I have been seeing makes it fairly obvious that the feeling is bugger the talks just kill the M23 bastards. I have no problem with that. Have a read of Alex Engwete's last post. Ladsous really needs to open his eyes. I think Kinshasa is going through the motions in Kampala and I would be happy to bet that nothing substantive will come out of these talks. M23 have two options unconditional surrender or death.

'Licking their wounds'

"M23 has suffered casualties" and withdrew to "lick their wounds," Ladsous told reporters after UN Security Council talks on DR Congo.

UN forces have strengthened their positions around Goma and it was "no surprise" that M23 has returned to peace talks with the government in the Ugandan capital, he added.

Actually the surprise was that Kinshasa showed up. They shouldn't have.

Mary Robinson, UN special envoy for the Great Lakes region, told the Security Council that M23 had offered to disarm if rival anti-Rwandan rebels operating in the region also laid down their arms, according to diplomats in the meeting.

What ? Alex listes their demands that are a bit more comprehensive.  

And  M23 claim they only got left three small demands to the DRC government: 1) Disarm the FDLR; 2) Allow thousands of people claiming to be Congolese refugees in Rwanda to return en masse to the Congo (with thousands of their cows); and, last and not least, 3) Set up a buffer zone between the FARDC and the territory occupied by M23!

A Security Council statement released after Thursday's meeting expressed "concern" at the tensions in eastern DR Congo and said all signatories of the political cooperation accord had to "fulfill their commitments in good faith".

I have no idea why Ladsous came out with this rubbish and even less of an idea why Al Jazeera bothered to publish such drivel.

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