Kampala - The Congolese rebel movement M23 has suspended
peace talks with Democratic republic of Congo's government, a rebel spokesperson
said on Wednesday, increasing fears of renewed violence in the country's
The rebels say it is meaningless to negotiate peace when the
United Nations is about to deploy a brigade authorised to attack them in
eastern DRC, said Rene Abandi, leader of the M23 delegation that was meeting
with the Congolese government in neighbouring Uganda.
"For us, as M23, there is a break from the talks,"
said Abandi, speaking by phone from Bunagana, an M23 stronghold in eastern
Congo. "We will hope that the government [of DRC] will understand later
that war can't solve the conflict in eastern DRC."
M23, the most prominent rebel group operating in eastern DRC,
is made up of hundreds of soldiers who deserted the Congolese army last year,
accusing the Kinshasa government of failing to honour the terms of a peace deal
signed on March 23 2009.
Since December representatives of the rebels and the DRC
government have been meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, for on-off peace
talks mediated by Uganda under the banner of a regional bloc.
The rebels, widely believed to be backed by Rwanda, last
November seized the provincial capital of Goma as the UN peacekeepers stood by.
That event prompted the international community to act toward the creation of a
unit of peacekeepers with an enhanced mandate.
The UN Security Council recently renewed the mandate of Monusco,
the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC, for one year but also authorized the
creation of a special unit expected to be deployed before July.
Following the UN resolution, the Congolese government asked
the rebels to dismantle their movement or risk being the target of the UN
M23 now says the deployment of such a force could mean a
return to full-blown war.
"They are coming with an offensive mandate. That's not
good," Abandi said.
Tanzania and South Africa, two African countries that will
contribute to the planned new brigade, have received threats from M23, which
insists its fighters will defend themselves against any attacks.