5 January 2013

Congo-Kinshasa: DRC Govt, M23 Talks Resume in Kampala

Delegations representing the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the M23 rebels resumed peace talks in the Ugandan capital Kampala yesterday.

Roger Lumbala, a DRC opposition parliamentarian who was elected on the ticket of the Congolese Rally for National Democracy (DR Congo/National) is one of the new faces on the rebels' negotiating team.

"He will be my deputy during the negotiations," M23's Executive Secretary, François Rucogoza who is the chief rebel negotiator, told The New Times shortly after arriving in Kampala yesterday.

Lumbala replaces Rene Abandi, the head of M23 external relations as Deputy Chief Rebel negotiator.

According to Uganda's State Minister for International Relations, Henry Okello Oryem, both delegations spent yesterday consulting with the mediator in the talks, Uganda's Defence Minister Dr Crispus Kiyonga ahead of the talks today.

The preliminary negotiations were adjourned last month without an agreement on the rebels' request for a formal ceasefire.

Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday in Bunagana, the head of M23 rebel group, Jean-Marie Runiga, accused the Kinshasa government of deliberately delaying the peace talks by not signing a ceasefire and acquiring military reinforcement from the Congo-based FDLR militants.

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