News / Africa

African Summit Fails to Agree on DRC Force Details

Rwanda President Paul Kagame, left, Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni, and DRC President Joseph Kabila, at the opening of the International Great Lakes Conference, Aug. 7, 2012
Rwanda President Paul Kagame, left, Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni, and DRC President Joseph Kabila, at the opening of the International Great Lakes Conference, Aug. 7, 2012
KAMPALA — The leaders of the African Great Lakes region announced Wednesday that they would deploy a neutral international force to expel rebel groups operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  However, there was no decision about what exactly the force would look like.  Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said the group would meet again next month to discuss the issue further.

The announcement comes at the end of a two-day summit of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region, held in the Ugandan capital.

The latest wave of violence in the DRC began in April, when a group of Congolese soldiers mutinied and formed the Tutsi rebel group M23.  Since then, conflict in the region has sent thousands fleeing over the border into neighboring Uganda.

At a press conference in South Africa on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the Great Lakes leaders to work together to end the violence in eastern Congo.

"The decision by Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC to resume talks is an important step," she said. "There has been a steady trail of rampaging violence, rape, killing and terrible human rights abuses over the last several years by renegade criminal bands.  And we support the efforts of the DRC and we urge all the states in the region, including Rwanda, to work together to cut off support for the rebels in the M23, to disarm them and to bring their leaders to justice."

Both Congolese President Joseph Kabila and Rwandan President Paul Kagame attended the summit in Kampala, which was meant to defuse tensions between the two countries.  In a report in May, the United Nations accused Rwanda of supporting rebels in the mineral-rich eastern Congo.

Kagame insists Rwanda is not supporting M23, but still, mistrust between the two countries runs deep.

The Great Lakes leaders agreed on Wednesday to support Kabila’s government, and mandated a committee of ministers to work out the details of the international force.

After the summit, Ugandan Foreign Minister Oryem Okello told reporters that this agreement was a sign that presidents Kabila and Kagame are prepared to cooperate.

"I think the very fact that they accepted it, the very fact that they signed it, is a testimony that they are willing to go out there and create lasting peace in the region," said Okello. "So I think we should have no doubt about the intention, the motive and the political will that is there following this summit.  President Kagame and President Kabila are on talking terms, they are engaging each other, they would wish this issue to be resolved.”

Okello added that any regional force sent into eastern Congo would complement rather than replace the United Nations peacekeepers, MONUSCO, who are already operating in the DRC.

“You will appreciate that the MONUSCO mandate is limited to protection of civilians," said Okello. "Now we’re not talking about only protection of civilians here; we’re talking of a force that needs to be able to take action against those who are causing the insecurity in the region.  So the neutral force will have a broader mandate than MONUSCO’s mandate.”

This week's summit is a continuation of a conference held in Addis Ababa last month, in which Great Lakes leaders declared that they would work together to end the violence in eastern Congo.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid