News / Africa

DRC Official Blames Uganda for Breakdown of M23 Agreement

Congolese M23 rebel fighters gather inside an enclosure after surrendering to Uganda's government at Rugwerero village in Kisoro district, 489km (293 miles) west from Uganda capital Kampala, Nov. 8, 2013.
Congolese M23 rebel fighters gather inside an enclosure after surrendering to Uganda's government at Rugwerero village in Kisoro district, 489km (293 miles) west from Uganda capital Kampala, Nov. 8, 2013.
VOA News
A Congolese official is blaming neighboring Uganda for the breakdown of an expected peace agreement with M23 rebels, which both sides were due to sign at a ceremony Monday.

Information Minister Lambert Mende said Tuesday that Uganda, which has mediated talks between the DRC and M23, was seemingly acting like a part of the conflict.

Congo has long accused neighboring Rwanda and Uganda of supporting M23, an allegation both countries deny.

Mende also said the Congolese government opposes signing a designated peace deal with M23 rebels because the group has already declared an end to its fight in
DRC.

One of the leaders of the M23 rebel group, Bertrand Bisimwa, told VOA that the dispute revolves around the fact that the government wants to call the deal a "declaration" while the rebels want to call it a "peace agreement."

"If the government of DRC wants the war, [it] doesn't need to sign anything with us. But if [they] want us to sign an agreement, we say that this document has to respect what we agreed [to] on November 4."

Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo told VOA that Congolese delegates refused to enter the room where the signing ceremony was to have taken place Monday, and asked for more time to read through the agreement.

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

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

The group consists of fighters who joined the Congolese army in a 2009 peace deal but later defected after complaining of poor treatment.

Last week, officials said the sides were set to sign a peace deal that would lay out the process for demobilizing rebel fighters, with some likely to be re-integrated into the Congolese army.

M23 earlier had asked for amnesty for its leaders, while the Congolese government said it wants the leaders be returned to the DRC to stand trial. The issue was expected to be a serious stumbling block to a peace agreement. However it is not clear whether it contributed to Monday's delay.

Eastern Congo has been ravaged by years of fighting between the government and various rebel groups, who compete for control of the area's rich mines.

The Congolese army recently got the backing of a 3,000-soldier U.N. "intervention brigade," authorized to undertake offensive operations against the rebels.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid