Kinshasa - The Congolese government delegation has quit
Ugandan-hosted talks with M23 rebels, saying Kampala's support for insurgents
was to blame for the failure to sign a document due to officially end the
Democratic republic of Congo's latest rebellion.
Okello Oryem, Uganda's Junior Foreign Affairs Minister, did
not immediately comment on the accusations, but said he expected it would take
a few more days before any deal could be signed to end the most serious
Congolese uprising in a decade.
DRC’s accusations against Uganda shows the deep mistrust in
the region, a barrier standing in the way of long-term peace despite the defeat
of the M23's 20-month insurgency by DRC's United Nations-backed army.
Congolese and rebel negotiators failed to agree on the
wording of the document meant to cap the army's swift military gains that led
to M23 last week abandoning its uprising in DRC’s mineral-rich border zone with
Rwanda and Uganda.
"Uganda seems now to be acting as part of the conflict.
It has interests in M23."
Uganda and Rwanda have both been accused by United Nations
experts of backing M23, the latest in a series of uprisings led by Congolese
Tutsi fighters in the east, which is rich in gold, diamonds and other minerals.
Both countries deny the charges.
Bertrand Bisimwa, political head of the M23, was not
immediately available for comment. Sultani Makenga, its military chief, is
being held by Uganda after he abandoned the rebels' last hill-top positions
with hundreds of fighters.
Despite the demise of M23, a plethora of other rebel groups
operate in eastern DRC, which is also riddled with conflicts over land,
ethnicity and access to resources.
Envoys from the United Nations, European Union, African
Union and United States had gathered in Uganda to witness the signing.
After it fell through, they insisted on further talks to
secure a political deal to accompany M23's military defeat.
Uganda's lead mediator, Defence Minister Chrispus Kiyonga,
said both sides had concluded negotiations over the 11-point document on 3
November, two days before the rebels announced they were laying down their
A second source close to the peace talks said the Kinshasa
and M23 delegations had both initialled each page.
DRC’s President Joseph Kabila is keen to capitalise
politically on his army's victory, the first over a major rebellion in the
distant, lawless east.
A Ugandan source close to the mediation said this was made
clear during talks.