4 December 2012

Congo-Kinshasa: Consultations On Congo, M23 Talks Underway

Photo: Al Jazeera English
M23 rebel.

Days after M23 rebels fully withdrew from Goma, consultations at the regional level have begun to have the mutineers negotiate with the DRC government.

The rebels withdrew from Goma under a regionally brokered deal, with negotiations now to focus on their demands, which include political reforms.

Uganda's State Minister for International Relations Henry Okello Oryem told The New Times yesterday that the peace talks should begin soon after consultations with different parties on how the meetings should run.

"What is going on now are behind the scenes consultations which involve details like the venue, date, duration and the terms of reference of the meetings," he said.

"We should be in position to know all the details tomorrow."

According to the minister, Uganda in its capacity as Chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), is consulting with the M23 and the DRC Government.

Officials expected to attend the meeting are ICGLR Defence and Foreign Affairs Ministers, as well as Refugees affairs officials who have been called in to follow up on the matter of refugees that fled the crisis.

"We are still consulting but so far the M23 rebels are okay with Kampala as the venue of the meeting," Oryem said.

In a separate interview, the M23 President Jean Marie Runiga said his movement had fully respected the ICGLR peace deal, and that they now await an invitation from the ICGLR Chairperson, Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni for peace talks with the DRC government.

"Our last soldier left Goma on Saturday and we are now waiting for negotiations," Runiga said.

Last evening media agencies quoted DRC government spokesman Lambert Mende as saying that DRC government troops would be deployed in Goma in 24 or 48 hours.

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