News / Africa

US, UN Urge Congolese, Rwandan Restraint

DRC's Joseph Kabila, right, flanked by Uganda's Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda's Paul Kagame, left, at news conference, Kampala Nov. 21, 2012 file photo.
DRC's Joseph Kabila, right, flanked by Uganda's Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda's Paul Kagame, left, at news conference, Kampala Nov. 21, 2012 file photo.
Nick Long
United States special envoy to the Great Lakes region of Africa, former senator Russ Feingold, and United Nations counterpart Mary Robinson are in Rwanda on the last leg of a four-day trip to promote peace in the region.
Sounding upbeat about peace prospects and warning all sides against further military action, their joint visit came as Great Lakes regional leaders agreed this week that peace talks between the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government and M23 rebels should resume in Kampala within days.
DRC President Joseph Kabila, whose army, with help from the United Nations, successfully pushed M23 fights roughly 18 miles (30 kilometers) from the eastern city of Goma last week, is now in a stronger military position than it has been for some time, but he has committed to restarting the talks.
Addressing a news conference in Kigali, Feingold said he has been pushing Kinshasa to seek dialogue rather than take further military action.
"I specifically urged President Kabila to use restraint," he said. "We do not encourage any attempt by anybody, including the government of Congo, to solve this in a military way. There will not be a military solution."
Robinson, the U.N. secretary-general’s special envoy to the region, emphasized commitments by Kabila and fellow regional heads of state to conclude Kampala quickly with a peace deal.
"President Kabila participated together with four other heads of state and all the other delegations, and they decided together that there should be a short period of continuation of the Kampala dialogue, because it was felt that actually it could be concluded — after three days [or] within two weeks," she said. "I was in the room when it was taken together by the heads of state."
DRC information minister Lambert Mende has said his government wants to resolve the conflict via talks, but he has also stressed the need for M23 to disarm, because — as he put it — the government cannot negotiate with rebels while they are killing people in eastern Congo.
Robinson was then asked if there is a disarmament deadline for M23 fighters.
"We hope that the Kampala talks, if they conclude well, will immediately provide a process for disarmament," she said. "There’s no timeline for it, but it should start very quickly."
Asked if they are satisfied by Rwanda’s assurances it is not providing cross-border support to DRC-based M23, the envoys said they raised the issue of support for armed rebel groups — for M23 as well as Rwandan rebels FDLR and Ugandan rebels ADF-NALU — in each capital they visited in the past four days.

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Comment Sorting
by: Pat Omalley from: Dallas, TX
September 09, 2013 10:17 AM
The talks if any should be between DR Congo government on one side and Kagame and Museveni on the other side. The M23 is a fabrication of Rwanda just as the RCD or CNDP was. The "Kampala Talks" should not go beyond the 2 weeks deadlines as they are now being used by Rwanda to resupply the M23 with supplies and Rwandan troops. Kagame and his regime have turned out to be the biggest trouble maker and obstacle to peace in the region and that should not be celebrated in Washington or London

by: Anonymous
September 08, 2013 10:27 PM
UN/SADC/AU/DRC do not need to be fooled again by Rwanda and Uganda claims. These fellows keep bringing up excuses for attacking DRC. The problem of rebels to their nations does not warrant Rwanda and Uganda setting up and supporting M23. US can advise, but US is sympathetic to Rwanda and that is why Kagame is big headed.

The Intervention brigade needs to deal with the rebels decisively otherwise these regimes will keep causing trouble and fooling everyone around. Kabarebe, Kagame and Museveni need to be fully reigned in because since 1990's they have made DRC suffer with perpetual conflicts using excuses of ADF and FLDR to invade DRC and plunder. US envoy to Africa is most likely un informed about the nefarious war lords and regimes and may be fooled to believe that they mean well! Do they? Only fear of force or defeat made them resume the Kampala talks. The problem with the talks there are usually called jokes though, regime there cannot easily moderate something helpful as it back the rebels with Rwanda. Tanzania or other SADC nation can do a better job

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