Talks resume to end violence in DR Congo

Jan. 8, 2009 at 9:06 PM
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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- A third session of peace talks is under way in Kenya aimed at bringing an end to rebel violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The United Nations is supporting another round of peace talks between Congolese government authorities and the rebel group National Congress in Defense of the People. The talks are being hosted by Kenya in its capital, Nairobi, the United Nations reported.

The CNDP rebels have been involved in an ongoing violent confrontation with DR Congo government forces in the country's eastern North Kivu province. The clashes have forced an estimated 250,000 people to flee their homes since the end of August, escalating a humanitarian crisis in the region.

Officials say the talks are being facilitated by former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, acting as an African Union representative, and former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, U.N. secretary-general special envoy.

Mkapa in a statement called the talks critical for "reaching an understanding concerning a formal and joint cessation of hostilities, or truce, in order to alleviate the human suffering that continues in the areas affected by conflict."

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