24 November 2012

Southern Africa: Zambia Seeks Amicable DRC Peace Settlement

ZAMBIA is hopeful that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government and M23 rebels, led by Sultani Makenga, will consider using dialogue to resolve their differences.

Defence Minister Geoffrey Mwamba said the warring parties should use dialogue in order not to harm innocent civilians.

Mr Mwamba said this in Kampala where he is attending a meeting for Ministers of Defence in the Great Lakes Region which is discussing the security situation in the DRC.

He said Zambia was saddened that the security situation had worsened in the vast neighbouring country.

The security situation in eastern DRC became more volatile on Tuesday this week when the M23 rebels took control of the mineral-rich city of Goma.

This prompted International Conference on the Great Lakes Region chairperson Yoweri Museveni, who is Ugandan President, to call for an extra-ordinary summit.

Mr Mwamba arrived in Kampala aboard the Presidential Challenger jet yesterday at 09:05 hours Zambian time for the meeting which will be held at Munyonyo International Conference Centre.

Mr Mwamba said in an interview that as an oasis and advocate of peace and tranquility, Zambia's wish was to see peace return to the eastern DRC.

He said war was retrogressive because it affects countries' economies, displaces innocent people, mostly civilians, and causes general instability.

Mr Mwamba was received at Entebbe International Airport by Zambia's High Commissioner to Tanzania, Judith Kapijimpanga and Major General Francis Okello, who was at the airport on behalf of the chief of the defence forces of Uganda, General Aronda.

Upon arrival, Mr Mwamba proceeded to attend the meeting.

The meeting will be followed by a summit of Heads of State and Government in the Great Lakes Region today at which Mr Mwamba will represent President Michael Sata.

The M23 rebels launched the rebellion against the DRC government in April this year and were now planning to advance to the capital, Kinshasa.

After seizing Goma, a strategic eastern city on Tuesday, the United Nations Security Counci l backed a resolution calling for sanctions against M23 rebel leaders, who however were reportedly "welcomed" by people in the city.


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