11 December 2012

Congo-Kinshasa: Congo M23 Rebels Boycott Peace Talks

Photo: Sylvain Liechti/UN Photo
M23 rebels.

Kampala — The M23 rebel delegation on Monday failed to turn up for the ongoing dialogue at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

A special session had been convened to enable Congolese foreign affairs minister Raymond Tshibanda respond to M23's allegations against the Congolese government of Joseph Kabila.

The talks between the Congolese government and M23 opened on Sunday amidst tension with the rebels' executive secretary, François Ruchogoza, accusing Kabila's government of ignoring the problems facing eastern Congo and the social exclusion of some people in the region.

"The security situation in the eastern part of our country is partly explained by the central government's refusal to recognise that there are internal problems that must be diagnosed and treated in depth. It is also the expression of a visible consequence of poor governance characterised by the lack of visionary leadership," Rucogoza had said.

In response, minister Tshibanda protested and said the dialogue would only continue after the DRC government delegation responded to the accusations made by the rebels.

On Monday, Uganda's defence minister Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, who is the chief facilitator of the dialogue, said he had called the meeting guided by the principle of the right of reply to enable the DRC delegation to respond.

Kiyonga said he had informed M23 who were expected to attend the special session.

However, he later received a message from the rebels, saying their delegation would not attend. Also, the session's starting time was extended to enable the rebels to be present.

Kiyonga said: "I personally rang the M23 leader and appealed to him to turn up for the meeting. But the M23 leader said he was under instructions not to attend this particular meeting." Kiyonga, however, said the rebel delegation was still in Kampala.

Tshibanda said: "They (M23) want to govern and are giving lessons on democracy and respect of human rights. I wished to do it in the same circumstances in front of the media. It is important that M23 listens to what we have to say."

The Congolese government delegation asked Kiyonga to avail another time today and prevail upon the M23 delegation to attend the session.

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