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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
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.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid