The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Leaders Meet To Broker End of DR Congo War

@AFP

KAMPALA (AFP) – Presidents from Africa’s Great Lakes region gathered Thursday in Uganda for a fresh bid to broker a deal to end fighting in resource-rich eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Meetings between DR Congo leader Joseph Kabila and his rival Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame — who rejects accusations of backing rebel forces in Congo — delayed the opening of full talks, Ugandan foreign ministry spokesman Elly Kamahungye told AFP.

The meeting of the 11-member International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) — the seventh such summit held to try to find a lasting solution — comes amid a recent upsurge in violence.

Congolese troops, backed by a special United Nations force, launched a fresh assault against the M23 movement of army mutineers in the turbulent North Kivu province late last month.

Conflict in the fertile and valuable mining region has in the past dragged regional powers into the fighting, with both Rwanda and Uganda accused of backing the M23, claims they flatly deny.

Rwanda’s Kagame also met separately with Tanzanian leader Jakaya Kikwete, following months of tense relations between their two nations.

Tanzanian troops are a key part of a newly deployed UN military intervention force specially mandated to take the offensive against rebel units.

UN special envoy Mary Robinson and African Union Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are also at the talks, held at a luxury lakeside resort outside Kampala.

Robinson, the former president of Ireland, on Monday toured conflict zones in eastern Congo, where she demanded that M23 fighters “must cease violence, must disarm as the UN Security Council demanded.”

The M23 was launched by Tutsi soldiers who mutinied from Congo’s army in April 2012 and turned their guns on their former comrades.

Last week the rebels moved back from positions around Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, which they seized for 12 days last November before pulling out under international pressure.

It is not clear if M23 rebels will also be present on the sidelines, although delegation head Rene Abandi is in the city, saying on Wednesday he was yet to receive an invitation.

Talks between the M23 and Kinshasa began last year but broke down in May, and despite promises they would resume, have made little headway.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Leopard 2 tanks

This is the latest report in my months-long coverage of the war in Ukraine. For more reporting like this, and to read my screeds about the reprehensible Republican Party, please consider becoming a paid subscriber.

Keep reading...Show less
Youtube Screenshot

With Republicans once again setting the stage for gridlock in Congress over raising the U.S. Treasury's statutory debt limit, and using interviews to push disingenuous analogies comparing the federal government’s budgeting practices to that of an average American household. The real danger is that mainstream media could fall for this misleading comparison and pressure Democrats into enacting painful cuts to popular social programs, while also letting Republicans off the hook for their role in manufacturing this crisis in the first place.

These comparisons between federal and household budgets go back many years, and they ignore some glaring differences: Unlike a household or business, the U.S. government issues its own currency and can roll over its own debt. The political utility of this comparison, however, is that it has enabled conservatives to target social programs, while they avoid answering for their own role in running up the public debt through unfunded tax cuts under Republican administrations.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}