18 December 2012

Congo-Kinshasa: Congolese Govt, M23 Rebels Hold Closed-Door Talks

Photo: UNHCR
Displaced (file photo).

The talks between the Congolese Government and M23 rebels resumed yesterday at Speke Resort Munyonyo, but were held behind closed doors.

The two warring parties reportedly agreed on the draft set of rules of procedure for the dialogue.

However, a statement released yesterday (Monday) by the chief facilitator who is also the defence minister Dr Crispus Kiyonga, said that during the meeting, the two sides did not resolve one issue. Kiyonga declined to reveal details of the discussions.

"It's not our business to tell you what we have agreed on. But we are left with one point and we are determined to conclude it tomorrow," Kiyonga told journalists during a press conference at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

The first round of the dialogue between the Congolese government and the M23 rebels started on December 7 and ended yesterday. The second round is expected to be concluded on December 31.

Kiyonga said: "Matters of dialogue need careful handling. We are making good progress."

Kiyonga also dismissed concerns that the continuing deployment of Congolese government troops in Goma could affect the on-going dialogue in Kampala with the M23 rebel group.

Meanwhile, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) yesterday rubbished the talks between DRC government and M23 rebels, saying they won't result into lasting solution to the Congolese problems.

The organizations also want the two groups to cease fire as the talks go on, alleging that fighting was still going in some areas displacing people in different communities.

They called for an urgent national dialogue on the current issues and need for organizing of local elections at grassroots to conclude the election cycle for people to elect their leaders.

Forty-five (45) organizations under the Pole Institute from Goma, in the Eastern North of DRC, addressing a press conference in Kampala yesterday, argued that the talks in Kampala are meant to solve grievances between the two parties, but do not address the never-ending fighting in Congo.

Jean-Pierre Kabirigi, the coordinator of the institute said the fight for identity, land, resources, power and poor service delivery, are the main cause of endless wars in DRC.

During their four day meeting held from December 12th to 15th at Botanical Beach Resort Hotel in Entebbe, the organizations recommended that all provinces affected by current wars including North and South Kivu, and Ituri be declared disaster zones in order for mechanisms to be put in place to ensure their rapid socio-economic recovery.

The CSOs also called for a strong decentralized system in relation to the norms of the constitutions in order to achieve a federal state.

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