The Democratic Republic of Congo government has threatened to pull out of the talks with the M23 rebels over accusations of tribalism and persecution of Kinyarwanda speaking troops.
Mr Francois Tuyihimbaze Rucogoza, the secretary general of the rebels who is heading the delegation, made these accusations at the commencement of talks in Uganda’s capital Kampala yesterday.
“M23 is a Congolese movement but we are called foreigners because there are some Kinyarwanda-speaking leaders. The current president (Kabila), has signed several agreements but he has not implemented any. We want the regional leaders to establish a mechanism to follow up whether this agreement will be implemented,” Mr Tuyihimbaze said.
Congolese Minister Raymond Tshibanda asked Uganda’s Defence minister Crispus Kiyonga, who is mediating the talks, to respond to the accusations, saying the M23 were using the platform to stain the image of his government.
“It’s unacceptable for people who have AK7 as their legitimacy to taint the image of those elected by the people Congo. We request to be given the same opportunity to respond or else we will not continue with these negotiations,” Mr Tshibanda said.
Mr Tshibanda who had calmly presented his speech and promised that they were open to talks said the DRC government would not allow rights abuses and sovereignty in their territory.
Dr Kiyonga promised to give equal opportunity to both parties but adjourned the meeting to today. He said the meeting was to set ground rules before holding more talks in Goma.