. Africa News .

West pressed hard for end to Congo war
by Staff Writers
Kampala, Uganda (UPI) Sep 11, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

The presidents of the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighboring Rwanda, protagonists in Africa's deadliest war, say they have made "significant progress" toward finding a settlement to the seemingly endless bloodbath in the eastern Congo.

That they are actually sitting around a table at a lakeside Ugandan resort is due largely to a stepped up diplomatic push by Western powers, including the United States, to find a way to end a conflict in which some 4.5 million people have died, largely from war-related starvation and disease, since 1994.

On Sept. 5, a security summit in Kampala, attended by 11 regional leaders along with representatives of the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union urged that peace talks be convened within three days "and concluded within a maximum period of 14 days."

It took four days, but the closed door peace talks, with Ugandan mediators, finally got under way Tuesday.

That's raised hopes for the first time in years that a solution to a war that's directly involved nine African nations and at least 20 armed groups, largely fighting over the DRC's mineral riches, may be finally within reach.

For the first time, the United States appointed a special envoy, former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, to join the European powers and African states in seeking to end to a war that has also displaced millions of Congolese.

The Kampala summit last week was convened after heavy fighting in the eastern Congo between forces of the DRC government in Kinshasa, headed by President Joseph Kabila, and the M23 rebel group that the U.N. says is supported, armed and directed by the Rwandan government of President Paul Kagame.

The hard core of M23 consists of Congolese soldiers of the Tutsi ethnic group who deserted in 2012 claiming Kinshasa had failed to honor a peace deal signed March 23, 2009 -- hence the name adopted by the rebels.

The new high-powered peace effort came after M23, largely made up of Congolese army mutineers and other African renegades, declared a unilateral ceasefire that halted the battles with Congolese forces around the strategic eastern city of Goma, part of the Great Lakes region of central Africa and near the Rwandan border.

The Congolese forces were backed by a special 3,000-strong U.N. combat brigade ordered to intervene in the fighting and engage M23 in a bid to crush the rebel force that's widely seen, with Rwandan direction, to be the cause of the current bloodletting. M23 overran Goma in late 2012.

On Sept. 8, M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa reportedly offered to disband his forces if their key foe, the Congo-backed Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, is disarmed.

There are concerns that Kabila's government, now with the upper hand, may seek to impose harsh conditions that M23 will find difficult to accept.

"This war comes from elsewhere," Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende declared last week in a thinly veiled reference to Rwanda.

However, Kigali and M23 may have felt the game was up when the U.N. brigade, reinforced with South African and Tanzanian troops using Rooivalk attack helicopters, went into action.

The presence of troops from those African powers, which have strained relations with Kigali themselves, threatened to draw Rwanda into open warfare.

The Rwandan regime has repeatedly denied supporting M23, but Kagame has come under growing international pressure to disengage from the Congolese conflict.

The United Nations has thrown its full weight behind Kinshasa. All told, there are 20,000 peacekeeping troops in the eastern DRC.

Even if Kigali and M23 throw in the towel, it's likely the eastern Congo will remain a violent place, its mineral wealth a magnet for rebels of various stripes and greedy neighbors.

U.N. officials estimate there are some 50,000 armed men in the region belonging to several groups.

The DRC, the size of Western Europe, is rich in diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt and zinc, with large deposits of coltan, used in mobile phones and other electronic gadgets, and casserite, used in food packaging.

Over the years the Congo's natural riches have attracted adventurers, unscrupulous corporations, warlords and corrupt governments whose greed has divided the population into competing ethnic groups.

The 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which the Hutu regime slaughtered some 800,000 Tutsis, enflamed Congo's internal rifts. Two million Hutus fled into the DRC.


Related Links
Africa News - Resources, Health, Food

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Get Our Free Newsletters
Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear


Guinea-Bissau rules out amnesty for coup leaders
Bissau (AFP) Sept 10, 2013
Guinea-Bissau's parliament rejected a bill on Tuesday that would have granted amnesty to the leaders of the latest of a long line of military coups last year, according to an AFP journalist in the chamber. The motion put forward by the transitional government needed a majority among the country's 100 lawmakers but just 40 gave it the go-ahead, with a quarter of lawmakers absent, according to ... read more

Indonesian farmers take legal action against president over haze

Overgrazing turning parts of Mongolian Steppe into desert

Certification of aquaculture critical to sustainable seafood production

A genetic treasure hunting in sorghum may benefit crop improvement

Report reveals missed opportunities to save water and energy

Massive pumping of groundwater for cities said raising arsenic risks

Rising reuse of wastewater in forecast but world lacks data

Scientist say just a few Asian carp may be big trouble for Great Lakes

Insight into marine life's ability to adapt to climate change

Climate at five minutes to midnight: IPCC head

Clock ticking on 2015 climate talks deal: EU commissioner

The potential for successful climate predictions

Time for Investors to Hunker Down

NREL Study Suggests Cost Gap for Western Renewables Could Narrow by 2025

Berlin Senate opposes municipalization of city power grid

Non-Hydro Renewables Triple Output in a Decade

Professor and student develop device to detect biodiesel contamination

More efficient production of biofuels from waste with the help of modified yeasts

European Parliament backs switch in biofuels

Blue-green algae a 5-tool player in converting waste to fuel

New technique to assess cost issues from major flood damage

Australia reiterates tough asylum boat policy

Niger asks for foreign help for flood victims

Olympics: Tokyo 2020 is a bid in the shadow of Fukushima

Over-pumping sucks arsenic into Hanoi's water

Old concrete can protect nature

Bacteria supplemented their diet to clean up after Deep Water Horizon oil spill

Detached pipe cap caused deadly China ammonia leak: officials

Multinationals to get equal treatment in China: premier

Australia's new government a boost to mining industry?

Romania PM backs down on controversial gold mine project

Israeli tycoon center of probe in $2.5B Guinea mining deal

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement