5 September 2013 – Top United Nations officials focusing on the Democratic Republic of the Congo are today in the Ugandan capital of Kampala attending talks with regional leaders meant to reenergize peace efforts between the Congolese Government and M23 rebels.
Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, and Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the DRC, are participating in the so-called Kampala talks held under the auspices of the Chairperson of the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
Mrs. Robinson is in Kampala as part of a four-day tour of the region to bolster peace efforts. The UN envoys are joined by Boubacar Diarra, Special Representative of the African Union; Koen Vervaeke, European Union Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes region; and Russ Feingold, US Special Envoy for the African Great Lakes region and the DRC.
Briefing journalists in New York about the discussions in Uganda, a UN spokesperson said that the envoys “urged all parties to bring the Kampala Dialogue to a positive and swift conclusion, in order to move to a broader process addressing the deeper causes of the conflict.”
They also stressed the urgency of steps forward in the implementation of the 11-nation Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region signed earlier this year under UN auspices as a comprehensive approach to sustainable peace in the region.
Mrs. Robinson had dubbed the accord a “framework of hope” and has repeatedly said that there is a renewed opportunity in eastern DRC and the Great Lakes to address the underlying causes of the conflict and stop the violence for good.
During her regional visit, Mrs. Robinson and the other envoys will speak with senior government officials and representatives of local authorities, the international community and civil society in Uganda and Rwanda.
The M23 – composed of soldiers who mutinied from the DRC national army in April – along with other armed groups, has clashed repeatedly with the DRC national forces (FARDC).
In the past year, the fighting has displaced more than 100,000 people, exacerbating an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region which includes 2.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and 6.4 million in need of food and emergency aid.