5 December 2012

Congo-Kinshasa: DRC, M23 Talks Begin in Kampala

Photo: Siegfried Modola/IRIN
Congolese army soldiers deployed against M23 rebels (file photo).

Delegations representing the government of DRC and the M23 rebels are expected to arrive in Kampala today for peace negotiations.

"We were invited by Uganda's Minister of Defence and our team is expected to arrive in Kampala tomorrow (today)," Rene Abandi, the M23 Head of External Relations, said in an interview yesterday.

Abandi said that in the Kampala meeting they hope to request for the issue of the reopening of the DRC - Uganda Bunagana border.

"The closure of the border is an embargo to residents of Rutshuru and surrounding areas who want to go about with their work," he said.

However, Uganda's State Minister for International Relations, Henry Okello Oryem told The New Times on Tuesday Uganda would only reopen the border on the request of Kinshasa.

Last month, ICGLR Heads of State asked the DRC Government to listen, evaluate and resolve the legitimate grievances of the M23 rebels.

Top Congolese officials have confirmed a delegation departed for Kampala to attend talks.

Interior Minister Richard Muyej said yesterday that one group of delegates left on Tuesday, while the second left yesterday.

Muyej told journalists in Kinshasa that the peace talks would begin today.

"We have ensured that the team of Congolese negotiators leaves for Uganda and representatives of all institutions that would take part in the discussions are on their way," he said yesterday.

He said that representatives of civil society, the National Assembly and the Senate in have also been invited.

Before departing, Aubin Minaku President of the National Assembly, said that his team would genuinely participate in the negotiations with transparency and not be mere observers.

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