21 October 2013

Congo-Kinshasa: Envoys - Congo-M23 Talks Making Progress, but No Deal

Photo: Tiggy Ridley/IRIN
Young militia fighters stand guard outside their leader’s hut in Democratic Republic of Congo's Ituri region.

U.N. diplomats report progress in peace talks between the Democratic Republic of Congo's government and M23 rebels, although the sides remain short of a deal.

Envoys Martin Kobler and Mary Robinson say the sides have agreed on eight articles in a draft peace agreement but remain apart on questions of amnesty for the rebels and security arrangements.

The two envoys addressed the U.N. Security Council by videolink Monday after attending four days of peace talks in Uganda's capital, Kampala.

Kobler, the secretary-general's special representative to the DRC, said it was "regrettable" the sides could not reach an overall deal. In a comment aimed at M23, he urged the rebels to "sort out" remaining issues "without delay."

M23 emerged last year to take over territory in Congo's North Kivu province. The group consists of rebel fighters who joined the Congolese army in a 2009 peace deal but defected and regrouped after complaining of poor treatment.

The U.N. is pressing for a peace deal as part of efforts to stabilize the eastern DRC.

North Kivu and nearby provinces have endured years of fighting between the government and various militia and rebel groups. Much of the fighting is over control of the area's rich mines.

U.N. experts have accused Rwanda and Uganda of supporting M23, an allegation both nations deny.

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