Uganda, Rwanda instruct M23 rebels to cease DRC onslaught


Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, who chairs the [I]International Conference on the Great Lakes Region[/I] (ICGLR), together with his counterparts, Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), have for the last two days been locked in discussions in Kampala on how to address the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in eastern DRC after the M23 rebels captured the North Kivu capital of Goma. 

Amid claims that Rwanda and Uganda were backing the rebellion in DRC, the presidents of the two countries say they want solutions instead of accusations and counter accusations on who is behind the conflict.

Museveni and Kagame said even if there were legitimate grievances by the mutinying group they would not tolerate hostilities or any attempt to either overthrow or undermine the authority of the DRC government.

“The two leaders concurred that the M23 rebel group must immediately stop its offensive and pull out of Goma” a joint communiqué issued in Kampala Wednesday evening and read by Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Sam Kutesa, said.

The message was also conveyed to the rebels.

Kabila, on the other hand, made a commitment to look expeditiously into the causes of the discontent of the mutinying group and address their grievances.

The three leaders proposed a comprehensive and operational plan geared towards lasting peace and stability, be drawn up as a matter of urgency. 

They also welcomed the support of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, who dispatched a special envoy to Kampala to meet them over the deteriorating security situation in the Great Lakes region.

Kabila told journalists that his government would evaluate the agreements it signed with the M23 in the past and that the agreements will be the basis for him to respond to the rebels’ demands. 

Museveni emphasised that the M23 rebels will have to accept the recommendations of the ICGLR to pull out of Goma, as this was the position of the region.

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