18 December 2012

Congo-Kinshasa: DRC, M23 Talks Extended Till End of Year

Photo: Kate Holt/Irin
Displaced families in Mugunga camp near Goma contend with rocky volcanic soil and lack of food, water, medicines - and shelter from the rainy season, which has begun.

Talks between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government and the M23 rebels aimed at ending fighting in the eastern part of the vast central African country have been extended until December 31.

The negotiations, which have been going on since December 9 in Kampala, were supposed to end today.

The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) facilitator, Dr Crispus Kiyonga, Uganda's Minister of Defence, told reporters in Kampala, yesterday, that the two parties considered the draft rules of procedure.

"They have agreed to continue discussion on one remaining point with a view to adopting them at the fifth plenary meeting on the December 18, 2012," Kiyonga said without revealing the remaining point of contention.

The minister said that the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and refuted reports that the talks had stalled.

"There is no stalemate and there are no delays. For anybody to think that in one week we could have finished talks must be not living in this world," Kiyonga said.

"Whether it is a short time or a longtime, what is important is that there should be agreement," he added.

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