The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) president wants to urgently end talks with rebels in the country’s east, Ugandan and Congolese statements have said, despite no deal being reached.
DRC President Joseph Kabila and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni met on Monday in Uganda’s capital to discuss the deal, but there was no sign of a breakthrough on the wording of the accord that scuppered a signing last month over the DRC’s M23 rebels.
“The two presidents agreed that the Kampala dialogue between the government of the DRC and M23 should be brought to a conclusion as soon as possible,” the said DRC in a written statement on Tuesday.
The Ugandan announcement repeated the message, with minor variations in the text. They did not say what a final deal should look like.
Kinshasa and the M23 rebels failed to seal an agreement last month after squabbles over what it should be called. The insurgents were ready to sign a peace agreement but the DRC wanted to call it a declaration that reflected the rebels’ military defeat.
The cycle of conflict fuelled by competition over land and mineral wealth has undermined the stability of the surrounding region and the DRC had regularly accused its eastern neighbours Rwanda and Uganda of backing the M23 fighters – a charge they both deny.
After the November 11 signing ceremony in Uganda fell through, the DRC said Uganda, which was mediating the talks, had favoured the rebels.
The statements said a swift conclusion to the talks would facilitate the peaceful return of M23 ex-combatants and the completion of the process of demobilisation.
“This would further create appropriate conditions for the return of Congolese refugees living in neighbouring countries,” the statements said.
When the signing fell apart, Uganda said wrangling was over the title of the document rather than its content, which addressed issues such as offering an amnesty for those involved in the act of rebellion but not for war crimes.
It tackled the reintegration of rebels into the army as well as some of the root causes of the unrest, including issues surrounding the return of Tutsi refugees to the DRC.
DR Congo’s failure to sign raised questions over its willingness to reach a political deal with a rebel force it had defeated militarily, analysts said.