AU In Talks With DRC Over Stalled Peace Deal

M23 fighters who retreated into Uganda after being hammered by U.N.-backed Congolese government forces.
M23 fighters retreated into Uganda after being hammered by U.N.-backed Congolese government forces.

Uganda has placed its hopes in the African Union to make the final push for the signing of the peace agreement between the Democratic Republic of Congo and M23 rebels. 

The peace agreement that was meant to be signed last week was postponed indefinitely after the Congolese government delegation disagreed with the naming of the document and also argued that they were not ready to sign an agreement with what they termed a ‘non-existent’ rebel group.

Just a week before the scheduled signing, the DRC government forces with the support from United Nations Intervention Brigade pushed the M23 rebels out of their positions and across the border into Uganda.

The rebels declared an end to fighting paving way for the return to the talks that had stalled in Kampala. On the day of the scheduled signing, however, the DRC delegation made a U-turn and said they needed more time to study the document. The Congolese foreign minister later Lambert Mende accused the Ugandan government of vesting interests in the signing of the agreement.

Key among the most contested articles by the Congolese government during the negotiations and now in the agreement is the amnesty and re-integration of the M23 rebels into the DRC army.

The African Union delegation in Kampala is in talks with the Kinshaha government to bring them back to the table to sign the agreement.

African Union Deputy Chairman Erastus Mwanche says the continental body is in talks with the Congo government to get them to sign the agreement for tentative peace in DRC.

The M23 delegation is still at Silver Springs Hotel in Kampala awaiting the Congo government’s position on the signing of the agreement.

The rebels who crossed to Uganda have also undergone documentation and also been verified by MONUSCO the UN peacekeeping force in DRC, but are yet to be handed over.

The Ugandan government says they have international obligations to fulfill before handing over the rebels. The military leader of M23 Colonel Sultan Makenga is also said to be among them.

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