The Observer (Kampala)

8 September 2013

Congo-Kinshasa: M23 Rebels to Resume Peace Talks

Photo: Guy Oliver/IRIN
Artisanal gold miners form human chains to excavate near Iga-Barrière, about 25km east of Bunia

The rebel M23 group have agreed to resume talks with Kinshasa in Munyonyo, in three days, time, after a respite in fighting in eastern DR Congo.

Regional leaders, meeting in Munyonyo, Kampala, last week, had given the rebels a 14-day ultimatum to conclude the talks. The rebels, who had protested the resumption of fighting back home, are now understood to have indicated a willingness to talk, according news agency reports at the weekend.

M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa was reportedly angry that the UN and Kinshasa ignored the talks and resumed the fighting, attacking his bases. The latest ultimatum followed an extra-ordinary meeting of the chiefs of defence forces and Foreign Affairs at the Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo, last week. The meeting also had representatives of the M23 and DR Congo.

After the meeting, President Museveni, who heads the regional peace effort, said: "Dialogue between the two parties if carried forward, we can get M23 to come out peacefully so that UN forces deal with the other criminal forces that have been in Congo for years."

The meeting resolved that as the dialogue resumes, the forces ensure maximum restraint on the ground to allow for talks to conclude. They also want M23 to end all military activities and stop war and threats to overthrow the Kinshasa government.

The delegates pledged to continue exerting pressure on the M23 and all other negative forces in eastern DRC to ensure that the war stops. They also requested the UN to find a definitive solution to the former M23 combatants interned in eastern Rwanda since March 2013.

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