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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid