A team of special envoys led by the United Nations today noted the announced cessation of hostilities between the M23 rebel group and the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
In a joint statement, the team, led by Mary Robinson, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to the Great Lakes Region, said they were concerned about the renewed outbreak of violence and that the announced cessation is a “first and necessary step to peace.”
They called on the M23 to renounce its rebellion as already agreed. The Envoys further called upon the Government of the DRC to restrain from further military action at this stage.
The team includes Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the DRC and the head of the UN peacekeeping mission there known by its French acronym, MONUSCO.
In addition, Boubacar Diarra, African Union Special Representative for the Great Lakes, Russell Feingold, United States Special Envoy for the Great Lakes and the DRC, and Koen Vervaeke, European Union Senior Coordinator to the Great Lakes Region.
Talks between the M23 and the Government are being held in Kampala, Uganda, under the auspices of the Chairperson of the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, the Mediator, as well as Ugandan Defence Minister and Facilitator, Crispus Kiyonga.
The Envoys urged both parties to remain committed to seeing the political process through to a final and principled agreement that ensures the disarmament and demobilization of the M23 and accountability for human rights abuses.
Meanwhile, South African President Jacob Zuma is today hosting leaders from the 15-country Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and some of DRC’s neighbours in the capital of Pretoria.
Mrs. Robinson and the Envoys noted that the joint ICGLR-SADC presents an “important opportunity” to build consensus on ending the immediate security crisis and for moving forward with full implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement.
The 11-nation Agreement was signed earlier this year under UN auspices as a comprehensive approach to sustainable peace in the region.