26 September 2012

Congo-Kinshasa: UN Special Summit on Congo Opens

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is today expected to chair a summit on the Great Lakes Region, with a special focus on security and humanitarian situation in eastern DRC.

The summit, to be held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, will be attended by the region's leaders, including Presidents Paul Kagame and Joseph Kabila of DRC.

DRC is faced with a new rebellion in the country's east, which was launched in April by mutinous soldiers who accuse Kinshasa of reneging on a 2009 peace deal under which they had been integrated in the army. The Congo government and a UN Group of Experts accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebelS but Kigali has strongly denied the allegations.

The New York meeting aims to support regional efforts and renew political mobilisation at the international level to help chart a way forward for addressing the crisis. It will also push for the immediate secession of military and other violent activities and help find a lasting solution of the conflict.

In line with restoring peace in the Eastern DRC, an expanded Joint Verification Mechanism was recently launched in Goma, DRC.

The mechanism is made up of 24 senior military officers drawn from all the member states of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), a regional bloc of 11 countries, including Rwanda.

One of the tasks of the verification team is to ensure that hostilities come to a complete halt. If peaceful means to end the conflict fail, the region intends to resort to force by deploying a proposed neutral force to disarm all the negative forces operating in eastern Congo, also home to the FDLR militia composed of elements responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

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