DRC neighbours call for quick accord with rebels
24 September 2013, 13:40
New York - African leaders on Monday called on the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government and opposition rebels to quickly
make an accord to end renewed conflict in the east of the country.
While condemning attacks by M23 rebels, the heads of
state and government at a meeting at the UN headquarters called for a
"swift conclusion" to talks being held in Kampala, which are
The talks started on 10 September in the Ugandan capital
but there have still not been any direct meetings between the government and
UN leader Ban Ki-moon called the meeting to review an
accord signed by 11 African nations in February.
The 11 promised not to interfere in each other's affairs
as part of efforts to end decades of strife in DRC, much caused by meddling
The review has taken on greater importance as M23
launched a new offensive against government forces in August, though they have
since been forced back from the major eastern city of Goma by the army and UN
"We strongly condemned the resumption of hostilities
by the M23," said a statement released after the meeting of 10 of the
signatory countries, who included the presidents of DRC, Rwanda and Uganda.
Rwanda accused of
UN experts have accused Rwanda and to a lesser extent
Uganda of aiding the M23 in their 18-month old rebellion.
The statement condemned attacks against the army, UN
peacekeepers and humanitarian workers in the resource-rich region. They also
condemned shelling into Rwanda, which the Kigali government has blamed on DRC
forces but which the UN said came from M23 controlled zones.
The statement said the African leaders had agreed
"benchmarks" to monitor progress keeping the political accord. But
officials would not say what the benchmarks are.
UN reports on DRC say neighbours have not kept their vow
against interference and this was one of the areas stressed by UN envoy Mary
Robinson after the meeting.
The governments of DRC, Angola, Burundi, Congo, Rwanda,
South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia attended the meeting.
Kenya and Sudan have asked to join the mechanism that
will meet again in January on the sidelines of an AU summit, said the