Government-rebel talks

Government-rebel talks, new accord between Kinshasa and Kigali

The Nairobi talks paved the way for direct negotiations for an end to hostilities

in the North Kivu province, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The announcement was made by the United Nations mediator in the Nairobi talks,

Olusegun Obasanjo, specifying that the DR-Congo government and rebels of

the CNDP (National Congress for the Defence of the People) approved a series

of ground rules that will allow the sides to secure an agreement on the

joint cessation of hostilities.

Obasanjo will depart tomorrow for New York to brief the UN Security Council

on the latest progress in the talks,

which he is co-mediating with former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa,

who is representing the African Union (AU).

Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula also welcomed the progress

made in the talks,

announcing a summit for January 31 of nations of the Great Lakes region

to update leaders on the talks.

Meanwhile, Kinshasa and Kigali authorities confirmed the adoption of

a joint plan to disarm the Democratic Forces for the

Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR),

a group made up by elements deemed responsible for

the Rwandan 1994 genocide that took refuge in DR-Congo

after the current Head of State Paul Kagame took power in Kigali and

recently protagonist of an armed conflict with CNDP forces.

The Joint Military Operation Plan endorsed by the two governments

foresees the deployment of Rwandan officers in the eastern regions of

DR-Congo to participate in the disarmament operations in quality

of observers;

a similar accord was already reached between Kinshasa and Kigali

last December,

but never implemented. Meanwhile, news continues arriving from

the front in regard to a division in the CNDP leadership,

with the second in command of the movement,

Bosco Ntaganda, who announced the creation of a

12-member political committee to re-establish the agenda and structure

of the group.

The committee was defined "illegitimate" by the leaders of the movement,

confirming the renegade general Laurent Nkunda as CNDP commander. [BO]

             J-L K.
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