DRC, M23 officials in Kampala for peace talks

A delegation of DR Congo officials was last evening expected to join M23 representatives in Kampala, Uganda ahead of fresh talks set to resume today as directed by regional Heads of State.

A delegation of DR Congo officials was last evening expected to join M23 representatives in Kampala, Uganda ahead of fresh talks set to resume today as directed by regional Heads of State.

 Last Thursday, five regional presidents and representatives from seven other member countries meeting under the  auspices of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in Kampala, directed the parties to return to the negotiating table within three days after the summit to settle their differences amicably.

“The M23 delegation arrived yesterday (Sunday) and we expect the DRC delegation to have arrived by this evening,” Ofwono Opondo, Uganda Media Centre Executive Director told The New Times yesterday.

The regional leaders also directed that the talks should be concluded within 14 days during which maximum restraint must be exercised on the ground - in eastern DRC - to give room for the talks.

Talks between the two sides were suspended in May.

M23 conditions

The directive to resume the talks follows recent renewed fighting in eastern DRC between the rebels and Congolese troops backed by a special United Nations force.

Opondo said Dr Crispus Kiyonga, Uganda’s Minister for Defence and facilitator of the dialogue, will address the media today on the way forward of the dialogue.

M23 chairman Bertrand Bisimwa, meanwhile, was yesterday quoted as telling the journalists in Bunagana, eastern DRC that they will resume the talks with only two conditions.

“Disarm the rebels of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) which will guarantee security of our people and return refugees, and M23 will be no more,” he said.

He added that solving FDLR problem will guarantee the security of the Congolese people which the M23 have been fighting for.

The FDLR is made up of elements largely blamed for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in which over a million people died in a three-month slaughter campaign.

 

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