Image

2:49 PM / Thursday April 2, 2020

14 Sep 2013

‘Significant progress’ in Congo, M23 talks

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
September 14, 2013 Category: Diaspora Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Angry residents carry the body of a person killed hours earlier when a rocket struck a home, as they take to the streets in protest over
recent violence, in Goma, Congo, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. Congolese soldiers supported by U.N. forces fought rebels in the country’s deteriorating east for
hours early Saturday, officials said, while a rocket landed inside the town of Goma. Congo immediately blamed the attacks on neighboring Rwanda, which has
long been accused of supporting the eastern Congolese rebel movement known as M23.

(AP Photo/Alain Wandimoyi)

By Saleh Mwanamilongo

Associated Press

KINSHASA, CONGO –The Congolese government and a rebel group that is ensconced in the hills above one of the country’s largest cities have made progress in
talks organized by neighboring nations, according to a statement issued Tuesday.

“Significant progress has been made in the dialogue,’’ said the statement from the Office of the Facilitator of the International Conference of the Great
Lakes, which is hosting the mediation effort in the capital of neighboring Uganda.

Late last month, Congolese troops exchanged heavy fire with the M23 rebels, who occupy positions just outside the strategic eastern city of Goma. Aided by
U.N. forces who pounded rebel positions with combat helicopters the Congolese were able to reclaim several areas that had been occupied by the M23, until
the rebels unexpectedly declared a cease-fire, saying they wanted to resume talks.

The M23 is primarily made up of fighters from a now-defunct rebel group which signed a peace agreement with Congo on March 23, 2009. The deal paved the way
for the rebels to join the regular Congolese military. For the next three years Congo enjoyed a relative period of calm in its troubled and lawless eastern
province.

However many defected in 2012, claiming Congo had not held up its end of the bargain by failing to implement the signed agreement. Rebels invaded and
briefly held Goma, one of Congo’s largest cities late last year, before retreating to positions just outside the city.

Image

The international community, bolstered by several reports by the U.N. Group of Experts, has accused Rwanda of backing the M23, using it as a proxy force to
secure access to eastern Congo’s lucrative mining trade.

Tuesday’s statement from the office of the facilitator in Kampala says the two sides agreed that 65 percent of the provisions in the 2009 accord have been
implemented, while 35 percent have not. “The parties have expressed determination to ensure that the balance of the agreement will be implemented as
well,’’ it said.

Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the statement is further proof that the M23’s rationale for war is
unfounded.

“First of all, this confirms what the government has always said, that the non-execution of the March 23, 2009, accord is not the real reason for the war
that was imposed on us because the majority of the measures were already implemented. This war comes from elsewhere,’’ he said. “The Congolese government
is thinking of Rwanda, which does not want to respect the promises it has made.’’

Showing the extent of international concern, the talks were attended by the presidents of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan and Tanzania, as well as by
the U.N. special envoy to the region, and Sen. Russ Feingold, the special envoy from the United States.

In recent days as fighting between the M23 and Congo escalated, a convoy of military vehicles was seen leaving the Rwanda capital for the Congolese border,
heightening fears the two nations, which have gone to war twice before, might be heading for another confrontation.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Commentary

A Millennial Voice: When expression becomes sound — an interview with the artist known as PUNCHBAG

March 27, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email By Danae Reid Independent and underground artistry has been prevalent for years. With...

Food And Beverage

A Comfort Food Classic

March 27, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email CULINARY.NET ’Tis the season for comfort foods, and this recipe with crumbled bacon...

Entertainment

Boomerang Season 2: A One On One with Leland B. Martin

March 28, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email By Kharisma McIlwaine New Jersey native, Leland B. Martin has been making waves...

Week In Review

Justices toss decision in media mogul’s discrimination case

March 27, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Byron Allen (Photo: Shutterstock) ASSOCIATED PRESS  WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme...

Sun Report

Election limbo as coronavirus outbreak upends US primaries

March 27, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Early voters cast their ballots at the Frank P. Zeidler Municipal...

Health

UPDATE: Philadelphia confirms 360 new coronavirus cases, bringing total to 1,675; 15 deaths

April 1, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced Wednesday afternoon 360 additional...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff