News / Africa

Great Lakes Leaders Seek Solution to DRC Crisis

From left, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Central African Republic President Michel Djotodia attend Heads of States and Governments International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, Nairobi, July 31, 2013.
From left, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Central African Republic President Michel Djotodia attend Heads of States and Governments International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, Nairobi, July 31, 2013.
Gabe Joselow
Leaders from the Great Lakes region are calling for greater cooperation to bring peace to the Democratic Republic of Congo, as accusations of interference by neighboring countries continue to fly.
 
Regional heads of state met in Nairobi Wednesday to build on a framework agreement signed by members of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in February, which outlines steps to advance regional peace efforts — including a pledge not to interfere in the internal affairs of neighboring countries.
 
This pledge is under the spotlight in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where U.N. peacekeepers are increasing pressure on M23 rebels.
 
The United Nations, rights groups and some western countries have accused Rwanda and Uganda of supporting rebel groups in the DRC, including M23.
 
U.N. Special Representative to the Great Lakes, Mary Robinson, told the summit she hopes this meeting will lead to an end for that support.
 
"The activities in support of armed groups by different signatory parties to the framework are contrary to the spirit and intent of the framework and must stop," she said.
 
Rwanda and Uganda, both ICGLR members, deny accusations of supporting rebels.
 
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who is also current ICGLR chairman, said it is up to Congolese government officials to stop insecurity in the country.
 
"Unfortunately the DRC has not created an army to effectively control its territory to guarantee internal security and to guarantee its territory is not used by negative forces to destabilize her neighbors," he said.
 
For the past few weeks, the Congolese army has been on the offensive against M23 rebels, who briefly seized the city of Goma last year and continue to control territory in eastern Congo.
 
The U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Congo, known as MONUSCO, has been providing support to the army and is deploying a new brigade with a mandate to take offensive action against rebel groups, including M23.
 
On Tuesday, MONUSCO issued a statement calling for armed groups in Goma and the northern suburbs to hand in their weapons, mentioning repeated attacks by M23 against army positions.
 
Speaking to VOA Wednesday, Bertrand Bisimwa, president of M23, questioned the declaration's timing.
 
"We are surprised by this decision, by this declaration of MONUSCO, because this declaration is done while we are in the peace process with the government of Kinshasa," he said. "And when on the frontline, war has stopped."
 
Bisimwa said M23 will maintain its positions despite the warning, but said they will not attack the Congolese army or MONUSCO.
 
Peace talks between M23 and the Congolese government, launched after the attack on Goma last year, have stalled with the latest round of fighting this month.

You May Like

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: US Army Turns Its Best Minds Toward Ebola

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Dissident Venezuelan General Resurfaces in New York

Antonio Rivero has resurfaced after nearly a year in hiding, appearing at United Nations in New York More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Enock Omweri from: Nairobi
August 01, 2013 7:46 AM
While the meeting by ICGLR leaders in Nairobi is a step in the right direction, it should be noted that, the conflict in Congo is between a state and non-state entity. ICGLR leaders are representatives of the institution of presidency (states). With which the government of Congo can relate with directly much to the detriment of the M23 rebels. To manage the conflict in Congo calls therefore for an approach that address the concerns of the belligerents and the people they represent. Approaching the conflict casually- via the ‘standard operating procedure’ as mentioned during the meeting is an exercise in futility.

Successfully conflict management mechanisms in protracted conflicts demands for a recipe that includes; a good mediation strategy plus structure, an equal measure of negotiation agenda and appropriate measure of good offices. In the buildup to approving the framework to the conflict between the government of Congo and M23 rebels, ICGLR leaders need to engage regional institutions with capacity to intervene indirectly. This should be done while regional states seek for ways to transform the conflict, align their vested interests, and gear them properly to addressing the conflict.

Enock Omweri
Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies
University of Nairobi

In Response

by: Aoci from: Kinshasa
August 04, 2013 1:35 PM
Mr. Enock,

I believe you know better than that. The only solution to the problem facing Congo DR today is its lack of a strong and effective military force. African should learn to be honest when speaking about issues that are affecting all of us. We should also stop using science in ways that fit our personal goal and objectives. Congolese people are learning the hard way about their neighbors.

Aoci.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid