6 January 2013

Uganda: M23 Rebels Appoint New Figure Onto Delegation

The M23 rebels have appointed Roger Lumbala, an opposition Member of Parliament onto their delegation to negotiate with the DRC government in Kampala.

Roger Lumbala, who represents the Congolese opposition political party Congolese Rally for National Democracy (RCDN), joins the M23 delegation as the vice chairperson of the negotiating team.

The M23 rebels, as well as the government delegations are back in Kampala for resumption of the talks which had been suspended for the Christmas holiday.

The talks are taking place at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

Fred Opolot, the Executive Director of Media Centre said that the heads of delegation had met with the chief facilitator Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, who is the Ugandan defence minister, ahead of the commencement of substantive discussions.

However, the M23 rebels have prepared a draft ceasefire agreement to be presented in the dialogue and have threatened to walk out of the talks if the government delegation does not agree to a ceasefire.

Jean-Marie Runiga recently said, "The demand for a ceasefire is not a sign of weakness, but a political act that reflects the actual parties to continue the search for solutions to the problems by peaceful means.

"It is also a sign of respect for our people who suffered so much from the ravages of war."

Runiga said that ever since the M23 withdrew from Goma on December 2 last year, the DRC Government has reinforced government troops presence with support from the Hutu FDLR rebels.

However, Lambert Mende, the spokesperson of the Congolese government, told journalists in Kinshasa recently that Lumbala is wanted to answer treason charges by the DRC government.

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