13 December 2012

Congo-Kinshasa: AU Commends Regional Efforts On Congo

Photo: Sylvain Liechti/UN Photo
M23 rebels.

The African Union has welcomed the ongoing peace talks between DRC and the M23 rebels in Uganda under the auspices of the 12-nation International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

The AU Security Council pledged support towards the deployment of the proposed Neutral International Force in eastern Congo and called on member states and the international community to "extend necessary support" to the ICGLR's roadmap to peace in the neighbouring country, according to a statement.

On Monday, negotiations between the DRC government and M23 rebels stalled again after the latter's delegation refused to turn up at a venue in Kampala to listen to the DRC government's rebuttal to the rebel allegations.

The Council requested the AU Commission to support the dialogue between the DRC Government and M23, in close cooperation with the chair of the ICGLR (President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda).

The M23 rebels in the eastern DRC started withdrew from the territory they seized a couple of weeks back, including the strategic North Kivu provincial capital of Goma and Sake.

M23 pulled back from the areas to pave way for political negotiations in accordance with a regional deal under which Kinshasa agreed to a political settlement on the condition rebels retreated from their newly captured locations.

The rebels took control of Goma and Sake more than two weeks ago after humiliating UN-backed government troops, who were accused of committing rapes and looting from civilians as they retreated south of Goma.

M23 is led by mutinying soldiers who broke ranks with the army eight months ago, contending that Kinshasa had violated a 2009 peace deal under which a previous rebellion had been dismantled.

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