Washington - The United States called on Thursday on the
Democratic Republic of Congo and opposition rebels to end months of dragging
negotiations and conclude a peace deal.
The talks in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, began on 10
September , but have yet to make any real progress.
US special envoy to the Great Lakes Russ Feingold and the UN
special envoy Mary Robinson are both in the region hoping to push the
"Now is the time for both parties to demonstrate their
commitment to a peaceful resolution," State Department spokesperson Jen
Psaki told reporters in Washington.
"The envoys met today with the delegations to the talks
calling for the parties to finalize an agreement and to promptly conclude the
"These have been going on for 10 months. They're
pivotal to moving things forward in the country, and... [the] message that's
being sent on the ground, is that further delays would be
The UN experts have accused Rwanda and to a lesser extent
Uganda of aiding the M23 rebels in their 18-month-old rebellion against the DRC.
Rwanda has denied the charges, but Washington earlier this
month slapped sanctions on Kigali for its alleged backing of the Congolese
rebels who recruit child soldiers into their ranks.
The M23 was founded by former Tutsi rebels who were
incorporated into the Congolese army under a 2009 peace deal.
Complaining the deal was never fully implemented, they
mutinied in April 2012, turning their guns on their former comrades and
launching the latest rebellion to ravage DRC's mineral-rich and conflict-prone
The UN and various rights groups have accused the M23 of
atrocities including rape and murder in a conflict that has caused tens of
thousands of refugees to flee.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame's government, also dominated
by Tutsis, is accused of backing M23 rebels as part of a proxy war against Hutu
rebels in the DRC and to seek influence in the country's mineral-rich eastern