Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) counterpart, Joseph Kabila have agreed that the DRC-M23 Peace Talks also known as the Kampala Dialogue, should be brought to a conclusion as soon as possible.
The decision was reached Monday in a meeting between the two heads of state held at Entebbe state house. It came after the peace talks stalled in October as a result of disagreements between the rebels and government negotiators.
President Museveni is the Chairman of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) that urged the two sides to resolve their differences peacefully.
A communiqué issued by the Presidential Press Unit says that the two presidents agreed that the conclusion of the talks would facilitate the return of the M23 ex-fighters to their country and also pave way for the demobilization process.
According to the statement, this would also make it possible for Congolese Refugees living in neighboring countries to return home. The statement indicates President Kabila’s re-affirmation to rid the Eastern DRC of all militia including the FDLR and the remains of the Ugandan rebel group, the Allied Democratic Forces-ADF.
Monday’s meeting between the two leaders came as the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, Mary Robinson concludes a week-long mission of the region that was aimed at boosting peace efforts.
At Monday’s meeting, the two presidents also talked about ways of cooperating through the revival of the Joint Permanent Commission which will look into infrastructure as well as border disputes.
Uganda is host to over 170,000 Congolese refugees, with an estimated 10,000 that fled into Uganda in November following clashes between government forces and M23 rebels, according to UNHCR. This recent round of fighting saw the M23 being defeated by the joint effort of the Congolese government forces and the UN Brigade Force.
In late 2012, a leaked report by the UN Security Council’s Group of Experts accused Uganda of supporting the M23 rebels, an accusation the Uganda government denied.