The M23 rebel group has said that it on Monday met with officials of the DR Congo army (FARDC), the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Congo (Monusco), the Enlarged Joint Regional Verification Mechanism (EJVM) and the East African Regional Force (EACRF) in readiness for peace talks.
This was revealed in a communiqué signed by M23 spokesperson Laurence Kanyuka.
“On Monday December 12, 2022 the M23 Movement welcomed in Kibumba (eastern DRC) the delegates of EACRF, Ad Hoc Verification Mechanism, Monusco, EJVM, FARDC,” the statement said.
It added that “discussions between the M23 and the various delegates of these organisations took place in a calm climate” and that the M23 was waiting “for the next meeting to be held”.
Neither the military nor the political authorities in Kinshasa have confirmed this information or denied it. Officials in Kinshasa had set conditions for eventually launching talks with the M23, which has been excluded from all discussions with Kinshasa since April this year.
The Congolese government has, however, negotiated with several armed groups in eastern DRC with the aim of bringing them back to civilian life.
The M23 has always insisted that the Congolese government implements the agreements already signed with the rebel group in the past, among them being integrated into the Congolese army and security services.
But the Congolese authorities have vowed “never again to integrate members of armed groups into the army”. The Congolese parliament has passed a law that prohibits any integration of armed groups into the army, as has been done in the past in the search for peace.
There has been a truce on the war fronts in North Kivu but the violence in the region has not completely stopped. The M23 accuses the DRC forces of targeting the Tutsi communities while the Congolese government has also accused the rebel group of “having massacred nearly 300 civilians in the territory of Rutshuru” in eastern DRC.
Source: The East African