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M23 Leader: DRC Needs Political, not Military Solution

  • James Butty

FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2012 file photo, M23 rebels withdraw from the Masisi and Sake areas in the eastern Congo town of Sake, some 27 kms west of Goma, Congo.

FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2012 file photo, M23 rebels withdraw from the Masisi and Sake areas in the eastern Congo town of Sake, some 27 kms west of Goma, Congo.

The leader of the M23 rebel movement told VOA the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo requires a political, not military solution.

Bertrand Bisimwa says, if the DRC government wants a solution, it must sign a political agreement with the M23.

His comments came after Kinshasa Monday delayed signing a peace agreement in the Ugandan town of Entebbe.

The government said it wanted to sign a “declaration,” not a peace agreement.

But, Bisimwa said, if the government insists on getting a military victory over M23, then the government does not need to sign any agreement with the rebels.

“As you know, we agreed with the government on November 4 that the document…is an agreement, and the government would like to change it to a declaration, and we didn’t agree to that,” he said.

The government said it wanted to sign a “declaration,” not a peace agreement considering that the M23 was defeated on the battlefield.

But, Bisimwa said, if the DRC government wants the M23 to sign any document, it has to be that which was agreed to on November 4th.

“If the government of the DRC thinks that it won the war, it doesn’t need to sign anything with us. But, if it wants us to sign an agreement, we think that this document has to respect what we agree on November 4,” Bisimwa said.

Envoys from the United Nations, African Union, Europe and the United States expressed regret that an agreement was not signed Monday. In a statement, they said the two sides have not expressed any differences on substantive points within the draft document.

Bisimwa said the M23 declared an end to its rebellion on November 4th because it wants to resolve the problems of eastern Congo through political means.

“We stopped our rebellion. We made a declaration about it and we can’t come back again on it. I think now we are ready to continue toward a political solution because we decided to resolve our problems by the political way and not the military way,” Bisimwa said.

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