News / Africa

Congo Government, Rebel M23 'Chat' in Public

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)
x
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)
Nick Long
Negotiators at peace talks between the Democratic Republic of Congo's government and the M23 rebel movement have three days left before a deadline set by regional leaders for wrapping up the talks. On Monday, the government delegation will be flying to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, and there's hope they may be able to report some kind of progress - although a complete peace deal in the next few days appears to be unlikely.

Since the opening session of these talks last December, all the negotiating has been behind closed doors. The media have caught hardly a glimpse of the two sides actually speaking to each other.
 
Before a session on Tuesday, though, the lead negotiators, DRC Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda and M23 spokesman Rene Abandi, stood on the lawn outside the conference center and had a conversation lasting about 15 minutes, in front of cameras.

Constructive conversation

Security kept journalists back just out of earshot. Clearly both men, however, wanted to convey the message that constructive negotiations are going on here: Tshibanda did most of the talking, gesturing expansively and looking relaxed, while the rebel Abandi, a younger man, listened respectfully.
 
Ugandan journalist Samson Ntale said he thinks this scene has significance. “It’s the first time we saw them in a chat, lasting several minutes. I don’t know whether they were just acting for the media. But if we are to read from the body language, that’s an indication they are heading to a truce,” he said.
 
Speaking to VOA this week, the spokesman for the government delegation, Francois Muamba, said they hadn’t made any progress at the talks recently. The M23’s Abandi said they haven’t agreed on anything recently that he could reveal. Both men warned there soon could be more fighting.
 
But the talks' facilitator, Ugandan Defense Minister Crispus Kiyonga, gave a more upbeat assessment.

“My reading as the facilitator is that the government and the M23 are still strongly interested and committed to the talks. My expectation is that we shall conclude the dialogue soon,” he said.

Kiyonga also unveiled the priority issues on the agenda. Most of them are the same issues they’ve been discussing for months. Two items not mentioned, though, were amnesty for M23 members and integration of their troops in the Congolese army.

Possible solutions
 
The month the DRC government said it would consider amnesty for M23 members except those suspected of war crimes, rape and pillage. The M23 said they were not too concerned about the amnesty issue and most of their fighters would not want to join, or rejoin, the Congolese army.

Other issues, including the future of the Congo-based Rwandan rebel group FDLR, and the future of Congolese refugees in Rwanda - mostly ethnic Tutsis - could be sticking points, said Aaron Hall, analyst for the human rights organization the Enough Project.
 
“Just recently we heard from the M23 that they would agree to disarm and demobilize if the Congolese government were to address the outstanding issues of disbanding the FDLR and commit to right of return for Congolese refugee populations in Rwanda, two very difficult issues to solve,” said Hall.

The DRC-M23 conflict flared up last year, after a group of former rebels-turned-soldiers left the army, complaining of poor treatment. M23 later seized territory in Congo's North Kivu province. The sides recently clashed again, as the rebels continue to hold areas north of the provincial capital, Goma.

Several observers said they expect pressure to build at the U.N. General Assembly for the DRC peace talks to be broadened to include other states in the region including Rwanda.
 
U.N. experts have reported that Rwanda has been supporting the M23, an accusation consistently and strongly denied in capital city Kigali.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jean Kiboko from: Goma
September 22, 2013 8:23 AM
The wars in Kivu will never stop until DR Congo has a legitimate leader and not a puppet supported by external forces. Dominique de Villepin and Paul Dijoud from France are the one who imported Rwanda's wars into Congo. They sleep peacefully while eastern Congo is in bleeding. George Tenet, then CIA interim boss warned Mobutu- DRC and Mkapa, Tanzania of the risks, but the two frenchmen were more persuading to Mobutu. The rest is history. DRC bled, Tanzania stayed peaceful. Give France a piece of Great Lakes cake and for its interests will support lasting peace. Already General Hullet of France has ruled out attacking FDLR its only reliable support in region, after M23.


by: Hans Walter from: Hanover
September 20, 2013 10:52 AM
The Japs manufacture Toyota cars, cubans are known for their Cigars Rwandan Extremist Tutsis have nothing to export, their only
manufacture lies and can't be taken seriously.all kagame has for sale is genocidal bones:leftovers of killings he has personally inflicted on the people of Rwanda, Thus he is only been exporting genocide and war to congo an to the region. The only true negotiation that would ensure lasting peace is THE REMOVAL OF GENOCIE SUSPECT PAUL KAGAME.


by: GetOut from: Rutshuru, Congo
September 19, 2013 3:17 PM
Until Kagame and Museveni decide that it is not worth it to fight in Congo to get a piece of it all these "talks" are a waste of time, as Kagame and his protector Museveni can just turn around and start another rebel group or send the Rwandan Army in open in Congo...These talks are not serious and will lead nowhere, if anyone need to negotiate it should be Kagame and Museveni on one side and the Congolese government and their allies on the other side...I am glad the Congolese government seems to understand Kagame not so subtle game now....


by: Anonymous
September 19, 2013 2:16 PM
"Several observers said they expect pressure to build at the U.N. General Assembly for the DRC peace talks to be broadened to include other states in the region including Rwanda."
If Rwanda has issues, those should be settled or discussed separately. DRC governance is for DRC and her population. Allowing Rwanda to come with its Agenda to meetins for DRC peace will be a huge and very naive mistake. It is like discussing Iran issues in Syria peace talks or trying to solve the Palestine issues in the Syria peace talks, that cannot work. Rwanda will cause as much difficulty as possible using excuse of FLDR -Hutu rebels. That is an issue that can be discussed between DRC and Rwanda with help on UN later. Any attacks of Rwanda on DRC must not be tolerated no matter the excuse. USA did not attack Russia over Snowden. It is true though US violated Pakistan air space to kill Bid laden , but that caused a lot of problems to this day.
So Rwanda must stay out of DRC affairs outside UN ,AU or legitimate international fora and not be allowed to mix up issues to promote their own agendas.


by: Anonymous
September 19, 2013 2:05 PM
Those are the jokes in Kampala, there are no talks there. What is going on is Uganda and Rwanda regimes trying to dupe the international community that somehow their rebels are genuine about peace. Judging by the track record of Rwanda and Uganda regimes, that is wishful thinking. DRC/SADC had better wake up and train a strong army. The incentive for plunder is a weak DRC army and poor governance and lack of development in DRC. That is why you see a lot of frogs in DRC East, as the saying goes, when the head of home is absent, frogs flock to the home. The M23 is rooted in the belligerence of the two autocrats regimes in the region. For their tp be peace, Uganda and Rwanda also to rid themselves of backward leaders that only think of war and militias and plunder.
UN/SADC /DRC will be extremely naive indeed to stake most of its faith , hope or plans in the Kampala jokes.

In Response

by: Punza from: Bunagana
September 19, 2013 3:22 PM
I agree, these Kampala "talks" are a waste of money and time...if someone needs to negotiate it is the pathetic denier of Congo involvement Kagame with his buddy Museveni on one side and Congo and their allies (SADC,etc) on the other side. There is no point in spending money in Kampala hotels this way while people are dying and being displaced in the region...it is a disgrace...If Kagame and Museveni cannot negotiate and keep denying their involvement in Congo then only one option will be left for Congo and SADC: fight this war to the end, even if it means to bring it to Kagame and show Kagame his own absurdity

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid