22 December 2012

Congo-Kinshasa: M23, DR Congo Talks Adjourned

The talks between the M23 rebels and the DR Congo government have been adjourned and will resume on January 4 next year.

"Taking into consideration the technical constraints related to the availability, over the holiday season, of the invaluable staff supporting the facilitation, without whom work cannot be carried out, the facilitator has decided, in consultation with the parties, to adjourn the plenary meetings of the dialogue," a statement issued on Friday read.

Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, the minister of defence who is also the facilitator of the talks said that progress had been made towards finalizing rules of procedure as well as setting an agenda for the substantive talks.

The talks began after regional Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) met in Kampala on November 24, to seek solutions to the security situation in Eastern DRC.

However, despite the progress made so far, the two warring sides have not yet agreed on a declaring a ceasefire.

The M23 rebels on Wednesday demanded for a formal truce to be signed with Government of President Joseph Kabila if the ongoing negotiations in Kampala are to continue.

The rebels accused the government officials of dragging peace talks as the government forces FADRC bolster troops in the volatile Eastern DRC province of North Kivu.

However, the DRC government prefers that the matter be addressed by the military chiefs under the joint verification mechanism which was initiated by the ICGLR.

The first round of the dialogue between the Congolese government and the M23 rebels started on December 9 and ended on the 18.

Kiyonga however said that he will remain in contact with the two sides by telephone. He said that the ultimate goal of the dialogue is to find lasting peace in Eastern DR Congo for the benefit of the people.

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