DR Congo lobby groups want Kampala talks ended

Soldiers of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo on duty at a military post in Kibati in the east. Lobby groups want the peace talks going on in Kampala, Uganda to be concluded. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Civil society organisations based in eastern DR Congo's North Kivu Province want the ongoing peace talks in Kampala, Uganda ended.

Mr Omar Kavota, the vice-chairman and spokesman of the organisations, issued an official statement to the DRC government and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) calling for an end to the talks for deviating from the main grievances raised by the M23 rebel movement.

Mr Kavota said the talks were taking too long and becoming too expensive to hold.

“The main grievance of the rebels was the evaluation of the agreement signed on March 23, 2009 between the government and the then CNDP rebellion. This particular grievance, the supposedly cause of the war, has been debated and appropriate conclusions have been reached. We think that the government should not discuss additional issues which risk leading it to negotiate power sharing with the rebels and pushing other armed groups in the region to be encouraged do the same as a way of accessing to power.”

The M23 rebel movement was established in May 2012, demanding the implementation of the March 2009 agreement.

The agreement occasioned the recognition of ranks held by the former CNDP rebels in the DRC army and national police.

During the talks, it was officially established that 15 points out of 30 were full implemented, eight were partially implemented and 12 not implemented at all.

The talks are continuing in Kampala.

The number of the participants has been reduced from 30 for each side to six.

For Mr François Mwamba, one of the six delegates on the government side, the mission was already accomplished.

“We discussed all the remaining grievances of the M23 and gave the government reaction. I personally think that the only thing we should expect now from the M23 rebel movement is the termination of the hostilities on the ground."

Mr Bertand Bisimwa, the M23 spokesman, remains optimistic about the talks.

“I agree with the global sentiment that the talks seem to be endless, but the negotiations with the government are moving forward and we are sure we will reach a commitment very soon,” he told Radio Okapi, a UN owned FM radio.

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