News / Africa

    African Union Monitoring Congo, Rebel Peace Talks

    DRC Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda (L) and M23 Spokesman Rene Abandi discuss the situation, at DRC peace talks in Kampala, Uganda, Sept. 17. (VOA/A. Hall)
    DRC Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda (L) and M23 Spokesman Rene Abandi discuss the situation, at DRC peace talks in Kampala, Uganda, Sept. 17. (VOA/A. Hall)
    Peter Clottey
    The African Union (AU) is monitoring security in the Democratic Republic of Congo following the breakdown of a peace deal between the government and the M23 rebels, according to Erastus Mwencha, deputy AU chairman.

    He expressed concern over the security situation in the north eastern part of the DRC, where the recent clashes between UN-backed government troops (FARDC) and the M23 left scores dead and thousands internally displaced.

    “It is really a matter of concern that with the hopes that have been created, the agreement would have been signed. This is perhaps something that both parties concerned should consider going back to the table for the sake of the people, for the sake of women, [and] children who have suffered in that part of Africa,” said Mwencha.  “The people and the leaders themselves are concerned that this conflict has gone for far too long, and the sooner we can reach this agreement, the better. 

    Last week, envoys from the AU, the United Nations, Europe and the United States expressed regret that an agreement was not signed. In a statement, the envoys said the two sides have not expressed any differences on substantive points within the draft document.

    The M23 announced it was laying down its arms, after the Congolese army seized the last of the group's strongholds in Congo’s North Kivu province.                   

    Mwencha said the AU special envoy for the Great Lakes region is also monitoring the ongoing peace talks in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, to find ways of peacefully ending the conflict and restoring peace and stability.

    “We are very much concerned, and this concern of course is not just simply that the agreement has not been reached, but we missed many opportunities, time and again, while people are suffering and while the economy continues to suffer, and while there are crimes that need to be pursued,” said Mwencha.

    Parts of DRC’s east have seen years of conflict between the government’s army, FARDC and various rebel groups, who compete for control over the area’s rich mines and natural resources.

    Mwencha said the AU is working with its international partners to help the government in Kinshasa defeat the various armed groups as well as maintain security and its territorial integrity.

    “We hope that peace would be secured, and that peace will require commitment of the parties concerned to enable the region [to] focus on development,” said Mwencha.
    Clottey interview with Erastus Mwencha, AU deputy chairman
    Clottey interview with Erastus Mwencha, AU deputy chairmani
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    by: Anonymous
    November 18, 2013 10:19 PM
    Who is fooling who? The African Union can fool no one. The AU is in the pockets of Autocrats and dictators and has no teeth to solve anything in a sensible way. The other day they sent Kagame and Museveni to ask ICC to defer the case against Kenyatta! I.e they wanted to cover him from answering for crimes in Kenya! Now they turn around and pretend to care about DRC population that has suffered genocide under the hands of the the "Rwanda/Uganda military regimes or warlords that call impose themselves there as presidents through oppression and the most shoddy elections!" The AU if it were serious would be pressing charges against Kagame, Kabarebe and Museveni and sending them to ICC too for aiding, ordering & abetting crimes in DRC since the early 1990's when they started wrecking havoc in DRC in all sorts of ways via militia, terror on populations,including their armies turning onto each other in DRC to fight for mineral control,loot and plunder. UN/SADC/DRC should not get complaisant, the M23 criminals just went back to base in the Uganda and Rwanda army/militia lThe likes of Makenga have VIP treatment across the border and the warlords/presidents protecting them will not hand them over without much pressure from UN/US/UK-the real masters over these buffoonish regimes that look for favor from the West by manipulating the West through geopolitical interests of the West. Uganda and Rwanda are a safe haven for all the M23 terrorists & other bandits that have committed crimes against humanity in DRC and left plenty of Mass graves even more recently.
    The narrow view of the West needs to change and stop dealing with buffoons or puppets but instead support good credible leaders/nations like Kikweete/Tanzania that are have more stable credible governance and are more progressive for their people and the region.
    In Response

    by: Rems from: TEXAS, USA
    November 21, 2013 1:28 AM
    Beautifully & Clearly said! They are only fooling themselves now.

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