High hopes for DRC, M23 talks in Uganda

Jan. 4, 2013 at 11:33 AM   |   0 comments

KAMPALA, Uganda, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Talks between the DRC government and the rebel M23 movement are expected to proceed amicably in Uganda, a government spokesman said.

Rebel forces from the March 23 movement, Tutsi mutineers, withdrew from territory in North Kivu province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo late last year. They rebelled in early 2012, accusing the DRC government on reneging on an early peace deal.

U.N. officials have expressed concern about continuing violence in eastern DRC. Fred Opolot, a spokesman for the Ugandan government said African delegates from the Great Lakes region have been lobbying extensively for constructive peace talks in Kampala despite threat of an M23 boycott.

"The regional bloc has been working extremely hard to ensure that both parties come to the table," he was quoted by Voice of America as saying. "We expect that some of these issues (will be) resolved amicably."

Kinshasa had rejected rebel calls to sign a cease-fire. Talks were suspended for the recent holiday season.

The U.S. government this week targeted M23 leaders and those from Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, known by its French initials FLDR. Rwanda is accused of backing rebel forces in DRC, an allegation the government denies.

"There is a credible body of evidence demonstrating support from the Rwandan government to M23, including significant military and logistical support, as well as operational and political guidance," a statement from the U.S. Treasury Department read.

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