News / Africa

Despite Progress, Congo Peace Talks Stall

M23 rebel negotiators are seen heading into the final leg of negotiations with the Congolese government, in Kampala, Oct. 19, 2013. M23 rebel negotiators are seen heading into the final leg of negotiations with the Congolese government, in Kampala, Oct. 19, 2013.
x
M23 rebel negotiators are seen heading into the final leg of negotiations with the Congolese government, in Kampala, Oct. 19, 2013.
M23 rebel negotiators are seen heading into the final leg of negotiations with the Congolese government, in Kampala, Oct. 19, 2013.
Margaret Besheer
The U.N.’s top diplomat in the Democratic Republic of Congo says talks between that country's government and M23 rebels have stalled after making some progress.

Martin Koebler warned Monday that despite the talks, U.N. peacekeepers have observed the M23 reinforcing its positions in the eastern Congo.

Limited agreement

After four days and nights of negotiations between the DRC and M23 in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, Koebler said the talks ended with agreement on eight out of 11 issues.

“I consider that the remaining gaps can be bridged," he said. "That is why it is all the more regrettable that this unique opportunity could not be seized to come to an overall deal.”

He urged the parties, particularly the M23, to seize the momentum and resolve outstanding issues in the coming days.

M23 was formed last April by about 300 former members of the CNDP rebel group who had joined the army following a March 23, 2009 peace agreement. The rebels-turned-soldiers decided to become rebels again, saying the government had failed to fulfill that agreement and was treating them poorly.

In November, M23 seized and briefly held the provincial capital of Goma in North Kivu.

Volatile situation

Briefing the U.N. Security Council via a videolink from Uganda, Koebler also warned that the situation on the ground in Congo's North Kivu province remains volatile.

He said in recent days, U.N. peacekeepers have observed a “considerable military build-up” on both sides of the frontline. He said the mission also has information that M23 has strengthened its frontline position near Goma.

The rebels have fired twice at U.N. helicopters and have strengthened offensive positions threatening peacekeepers.

“However, for the sake of safeguarding an environment conducive for a negotiated settlement, I decided not to retaliate according to the rules of engagement," Koebler said.
 
Koebler also highlighted threats from other rebel groups, including the FDLR and the Allied Democratic Forces and the continued recruitment of child soldiers.  Koebler said nearly 1,000 cases of children being recruited by rebel groups was documented between January 2012 and this August.

He underscored the problem of foreign interference, saying the U.N. has interviewed some 200 surrendering combatants who testified that they were recruited on Ugandan, but mainly Rwandan, territory.

“This, and other kinds of external involvement, must stop,” Koebler said.

Both Uganda and Rwanda have denied allegations they support M23.

Outstanding issues

The U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, spoke to the council via a video link from Addis Ababa. 

She said among the items the government and rebels agreed on in Kampala include the release of prisoners; the end of M23 as a rebel movement and the possibility of it re-establishing itself as a political party; the return and resettlement of refugees and displaced persons; and the establishment of a National Reconciliation Commission.

She also outlined the outstanding issues between the parties.

“While the parties have made progress in the negotiations, they have not been able to reach an agreement on the issues of amnesty, integration, disengagement and security arrangements," Robinson said. "They have agreed to reconvene soon in order to overcome their differences.”

On the amnesty issue, she said the current draft grants amnesty and integration to all members of M23, except those indicted for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, gross violations of human rights, sexual violence, and the recruitment of child soldiers.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: MFITUNDINDA JAMES from: KAMPALA
October 23, 2013 11:42 AM
our people are suffering because of m23 they should be punished

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
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 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 Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
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.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid