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DR Congo, M23 Rebels Sign Declarations Marking End of Kampala Peace Talks

Radio Okapi | Published on December 12, 2013
Charles Okoto, Apolinaire Malu Malu et Raymond Tshibanda, three members of the Congolese delegation at the Kampala peace talks
Charles Okoto, Apolinaire Malu Malu and Raymond Tshibanda, three members of the Congolese delegation at the Kampala peace talks (File photo) | Enlarge
DR Congo’s government and the former M23 rebels have signed two documents marking the end of the peace talks they were holding in Kampala, Uganda, since December of last year.

DR Congo’s government spokesman Lambert Mende said that the two sides each signed a different document from the one signed by the other side on Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya.

According to Mr. Mende, the M23 renounced any resort to armed rebellions. The M23 also reiterated its dissolution, which it had announced after its military defeat against the Congolese army in November.

In the declaration signed by DR Congo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Raymond Tshibanda, the Congolese government said it “notes the declaration by the M23 and also proclaims its commitment to facilitate the implementation of this renunciation of armed struggle by the M23.”

The Congolese government committed to implement a program of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former rebels and present a draft amnesty law to Parliament.

Mr. Mende said that the amnesty would apply “only to acts of war and acts of insurrection and not war crimes or crimes against humanity.”

Another document was signed by Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni on behalf of the International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and Malawi's President Joyce Banda on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The two leaders took note of the end of the Kampala peace talks and called on both sides to fulfill their respective commitments.

These peace talks should have been concluded on November 11 in Kampala. But the two sides could not agree on the title of the document announcing the end of discussions. Kinshasa had said it would sign a simple “declaration”, not a “peace agreement.”

“It’s the formula that the Congolese government was asking for that was chosen,” Mr. Mende said.

The signing of the two declarations in Nairobi marks the end of the peace talks which lasted one year.

Last month, the Congolese army, supported by UN peacekeepers, dislodged the M23 rebels from all areas they had occupied in North Kivu province for more than a year.

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