Congo blames mediator Uganda for collapse of rebel talks


The Congolese government delegation has left Ugandan-hosted talks with M23 rebels after the two sides failed to agree on the wording of a document due to officially end the insurgency.

A spokesman for the government, Lambert Mende, blamed mediator Uganda for the breakdown.
“Uganda seems now to be acting as part of the conflict. It has interests in M23,” he said.

The failure to sign a document to end the conflict 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 Congo’s United Nations-backed army.

Okello Oryem, Uganda’s junior foreign affairs minister, said he expected it would take a few more days before any deal could be signed. Oryem did not comment on Congolese accusations that Uganda was backing the rebels.

Mende said the government was not prepared to sign a deal with a rebel movement that had already declared its own dissolution. Kinshasa wants the rebels to pledge not to take up arms again, he said.

Despite the demise of M23, a plethora of other rebel groups operate in Congo’s mineral-rich east, which is also riddled with conflicts over land, ethnicity and access to resources.