The New Times (Kigali)

20 November 2012

Rwanda Calls for DR Congo Dialogue

Rebel forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo have captured the regional capital, Goma. According to the government, the fighters are backed by ... ( Resource: DR Congo Rebels Take Control of Goma

Rwanda has urged the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) and the rebel force M23, to bring to an end the renewed hostilities and refocus attention on the ongoing peaceful solution guided by the ICGLR.

The Foreign Affairs Minister and Government spokesperson, Louise Mushikiwabo, warned that the hostilities have harmful repercussions not only on Congolese citizens but on Rwandan civilians in the border areas.

Mushikiwabo yesterday met with Foreign Affairs ministers from all 11 member states of the regional body, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in a bid to find lasting solution to the DRC crisis.

But the talks were clouded by renewed fighting in eastern Congo, where the rebels took over the provincial capital Goma.

"What happened today in Goma is a clear indication that the military option has failed to bring about a solution to this crisis and that political dialogue is the only way to resolve the ongoing conflict," Mushikiwabo said in a statement released earlier yesterday.

"Rwanda is fully committed to the peace process under ICGLR and we continue to work with member states in the interest of durable peace in our region."

Speaking from Kampala, Minister Mushikiwabo pointed out that there has to be a new approach to ensure that there is no further deterioration in the current situation.

"By focusing on the blame game and ignoring the root causes of conflict in the DRC, the international community has missed the opportunity to help the DRC restore peace and security for its citizens and bring about much needed stability in the Great Lakes Region. We just cannot afford to continue along a path that has failed to produce results," she said.

The ICGLR on its part also condemned the resumption of hostilities between the FARDC and the rebel force M23, urging both sides to respect the region's mechanisms to finding a peaceful solution.

A statement by the Foreign Affairs ministers at the Kampala meeting expressed concern at the security and humanitarian conditions in North Kivu, eastern DRC, calling on the parties to immediately stop fighting.

"We express our determination to continue regional and international efforts to a final lasting solution to eastern DRC. We call on the international community to mobilise diplomatic and humanitarian support to the ICGLR regional initiative to the crisis in eastern DRC," the ministers said in a joint statement.

Despite a three-month ceasefire in place, violence broke out last week in the volatile eastern DRC, which culminated into the rebels taking over the provincial capital, Goma, yesterday.

Uganda's Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa, yesterday confirmed that DRC President Joseph Kabila was in Kampala to meet the ICGLR chairperson, Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni.

The ICGLR comprises 11 countries - Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Congo-Kinshasa, Congo-Brazzaville, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia.

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