New Vision (Kampala)

Congo-Kinshasa: Regional Leaders Decide On Congo Crisis

Photo: Eddie Ssejjoba/New Vision
DRC President Joseph Kabila, left, with South Sudan minister of commerce and investments, Garanga Dung Akwang in Kampala.

Munyonyo, Kampala — President Yoweri Museveni on Saturday closed the 5th Extraordinary Summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) which took place at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala.

Leaders from the region attended the meeting which sought a last solution to the current crisis on the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

President Museveni's guests Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete flew in shortly after DRC's Joseph Kabila Saturday morning. Kenyan leader Mwai Kibaki moments later also showed up for the one-day summit.

The Summit highlighted the end of violence and restoration of government control in the rebel-captured town of Goma in eastern DRC, an official statement showed.

A resolution was reached to have President Kabila's government listen to and resolve the grievances of the rebel group M23 which is at the heart of the ongoing fighting in the country.

According to the statement delivered by Uganda's minister of foreign affairs, Sam Kutesa, the leaders want the M23 rebels to stop spreading the war and also stop their talk of overthrowing "an elected government".

The regional leaders demanded the withdrawal of the insurgents "from the current positions to the ground of tactical importance not less than 20km north of Goma."

Several other decisions were made during the meet.

The leaders decided to deploy a composite Force comprising one company of neutral force, one company of FARDC and one company of M23 at Goma airport.

And in Goma town, the deployment of one battalion of FARDC (country's military) and the DRC national Police that was deployed there before was resolved.

The Police who were disarmed in Goma by the M23 rebels would be rearmed so that they resume duty and that MONUSCO should occupy and provide security in the neutral zone between Goma and the new areas occupied by the rebels.

The leaders further declared that the process will be supervised by the Chiefs of Defense Staff of Rwanda, DRC and led by the Chief of Defense Forces of Uganda.

They concluded that the Chiefs of Defense of other ICGLR member states shall be informed of the implementation of the decisions made.

Rwanda's president Paul Kagame did not attend the meeting but had been in Kampala earlier this week engaged in talks with Presidents Museveni and Kabila over the crisis.

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