Friday, 6 September 2013

DR-CONGO: Kinshasa-M23:Re-Starting Peace Talks

Rebels from the Democratic Republic of Congo's M23 movement said Thursday they will resume peace talks with the government of the violence-hit country, agreeing to a demand from leaders of Africa's Great Lakes region.

The Congolese government cautiously welcomed the M23's announcement. "We had the impression that some wanted to drag things out," spokesman Lambert Mende said, adding that Kinshasa had "never left the table". On Thursday, regional leaders meeting in the Ugandan capital issued a statement demanding the resumption of talks between the two sides within three days, to be concluded within 14 days.

Talks between the two sides were suspended in May, and the agreement to reopen them follows a recent upsurge in violence in the country, where Congolese troops backed by a special United Nations force launched a fresh assault against the rebels late last month.

Last week the rebels moved back from positions around Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, which they seized for 12 days last November before pulling out under international pressure. The meeting of the 11-member International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) is the seventh such summit held to try to find a lasting solution.

The truth is that the latest call to re-launch peace-talks between Kinshasa and Rwanda's backed M23 movement by the 11 members of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) is just the latest chapter in a long story involving competing mafia-like political and military alliances controlled by leaders in the capitals of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda, all of whom justify their actions in terms of national security concerns to mask economic and political interests.

By global standards, the effort to construct a credible peace process for Dr-Congo is manifestly derelict, and has only condemned that country to further cycles of devastating conflict. Each time that Rwandan-backed M23 rebels have taken or threatened Goma over the past decade, hasty failed- negotiations have produced deeply flawed deals that have reduced the military pressure on Rwanda-born Congolese President Joseph Kabila's weakened government and permitted the Rwandan-backed rebels to administer strategic eastern zones and oversee taxation and resource looting.

The re-launch of peace talks between M23 and Kinshasa forecasts skepticism and failure to launch a durable peace in eastern Dr-Congo conflict. As in previous processes, the interests of rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda will be represented overwhelmingly by Kigali and Kampala.

Previous failed-peace-talks have led in the past to short-term security arrangements that address none of the economic and political root causes of the conflict and have involved total impunity for war criminals, poorly conceived plans for integrating rights-abusing rebels into the Congolese army, and secret deals outlining governing arrangements - - a pattern that will be repeating itself in the up-coming peace-talks.

There is no excuse for this sorry state of affairs. And rectifying the situation does not require huge amounts of money or wrenchingly divisive moves within the U.N. Security Council. It requires leadership -- from the African Union, from the U.N. secretary general, US and UK, both countries supporting proxies that plunder Congolese resources.

It is highly hypocritical that Joseph Kabila, Dr-Congo's President, has agreed to another around of peace-talks with M23, after meeting secretly with Paul Kagamé, Rwanda's President, knowingly that Rwanda, the main sponsor of M23 rebels will not be on the negotiating table. The matter of fact is M23 movement is a '' Rwandan militia'' that has been threatening Dr-Congo's sovereignty and renegotiating with a foreign militia in Dr-Congo's territory is like: '' dancing with the devil''.

Rwanda, Uganda and Joseph Kabila are the reason of the ''existing M23'' rebels and the cause of the Dr-Congo's conflict. One must be politically blindfolded to even think that they are part of the solution. A prospect of an everlasting peace deal should start with the neutralization of those '' three musketeers''.

By Guylain Gustave Moke
Political Analyst/Writer
Investigative Journalist
African Affairs Expert


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