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DRC, M23 rebels resume peace talks in Kampala

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September 10, 2013 (KAMPAL) - The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the M23 rebels on Tuesday resumed peace talks in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

The peace talks come less than a week after regional leaders, acting under the auspices of the International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), ordered stalled talks between the DRC and M23 to resume by Monday.

A statement from the facilitator of the talks, Uganda’s defence minister, Chrispus Kiyonga, said the DRC peace team is being led by foreign affairs minister Raymond Tshibanda, while the M23 team is led by Rene Abandi.

“Following the 5 September 2013, seventh extraordinary summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and the declaration thereof, the sittings of the dialogue between the government of DRC and M23 have resumed in Kampala”, Kiyonga said in the statement released on Tuesday.

DRC representatives and M23 rebels are meeting for the first time since May when talks in Kampala stalled.

Eastern DRC was the scene of fierce fighting late last month between M23 rebels and the DRC army which is receiving support from a UN brigade mandated to use force.

The M23 is largely made up of Tutsi rebels who were previously part of the Congolese army, but mutinied in April 2012 when they accused the DRC government of not respecting a 2009 peace deal.

The DRC government and the UN accuse Rwanda of supporting the rebels, but Rwanda denies the allegations.

The recent summit of African leaders was called by Uganda after 67,000 Congolese refugees fleeing violence in eastern Congo entered its territory, raising concerns that the influx would place further strain on the country’s already stretched public services.

(ST)

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