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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

No 'Peace Deal' With Defeated M23 Rebels, DR Congo Says: Rwanda silent over M23 rebel defeat: How The US Masterminded Downfall of their friend M23


Congolese soldiers guard suspected M23 rebel fighters who surrendered in Chanzo village in the Rutshuru territory near the eastern town of Goma, November 5, 2013. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe


First read:

End of the M23 Era but no end yet to USA and her clients’ looting of Congo resources : Kabila Congratulates Congo Army for Defeating M23 Rebels: FARDC captured Ugandan and Rwandan Nationals fighting alongside M23 Rebels

http://watchmanafrica.blogspot.com/2013/10/end-of-m23-era-but-no-end-yet-to-usa.html

When territorial sovereignty violators cry foul when their own sovereignty is violated: Uganda protests D.R Congo’s recent bombing of its territory in pursuit of M23 rebels: Rwanda has also accused the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) of firing bombs and rockets into its territory: Remember when Uganda was fined 18 trillion shillings ($10 billion) for violating the sovereignty of Dr.Congo

http://watchmanafrica.blogspot.com/2013/11/when-territorial-sovereignty-violators.html

Is defeat of M23 a turning point in Uganda-Rwanda Great Lakes dream?



No 'Peace Deal' With Defeated M23 Rebels, DR Congo Says




 Congo News Agency - November 11, 2013

Raymond Tshibanda
DR Congo's Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda 
The signing of a document that was supposed to mark the end of peace talks between DR Congo’s government and the defeated M23 rebels was postponed indefinitely on Monday in Entebbe, Uganda, over a disagreement on its wording and title.
Uganda’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Oryem Okello suggested that Congolese officials had balked at signing a “peace deal” that had been agreed upon and had instead “asked for more time” to consider the document.

DR Congo’s Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda said that the wording and the title of the document was important because the situation on the ground had changed.

The “Kampala peace talks” between DR Congo and the M23 rebels have gone on for nearly a year. But last week the Congolese army recaptured all territories once occupied by the rebels after the peace talks broke down again two weeks earlier.

The Congolese government then said it would no longer sign a “peace deal” with the M23 rebels, but would sign a document marking the end of the rebellion.

Uganda’s Defense Minister and chief mediator Cyprus Kyonga said on Monday he was still optimistic that an agreement could be reached.

“We need time to consult with each party,... there are issues of fine-tuning language and some words,” Mr. Kyonga said.

Congolese authorities have always faced strong opposition at home against signing a “peace deal” with the M23 rebels.

Signing a “peace deal” would even make less sense now that the Congolese army, backed by UN peacekeepers, has dislodged the rebels from all the territory they occupied for more than a year in North Kivu province.

Congolese authorities have also not forgotten that the M23 rebels claimed that the government had failed to abide by an earlier peace deal signed on March 23, 2009, as a pretext to launch their rebellion last year.
After defeating the rebels militarily, why give them the opportunity to later use yet another “peace deal” as a pretext to launch a new rebellion?

But Ugandan officials have been pushing for a deal as if the situation on the ground had remained the same as it was three weeks ago, when the M23 rebels still controlled large swathes of land, and refused then to sign a peace deal if rebels who had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity were not granted a complete amnesty.

Some Congolese analysts have always called into question the impartiality of the Ugandan government. Uganda and Rwanda have been accused by the United Nations and rights groups of supporting the M23 rebels.

Ugandan officials claimed last week that close to 1,700 rebels had fled into their territory, a number disputed by officials in North Kivu province, who put the number at a couple of hundreds at most.

Ugandan officials have also said that the fugitive rebels will be disarmed but will not be handed over to Congolese authorities, including M23 military commander Sultani Makenga, who is wanted by DR Congo’s government and is under U.N. and U.S. sanctions.

The U.N. and African Union-brokered Addis Ababa Framework Agreement, signed in February by 11 countries to tackle the conflict in eastern Congo, calls on neighboring countries to “neither harbor nor provide protection of any kind to persons accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, acts of genocide or crimes of aggression, or persons falling under the UN sanctions regime.”


Rwanda’s M23 gamble backfires

 






UN experts have accused Uganda and Rwanda of backing M23 rebels, and despite denials, officials in Kigali have been anxious over the turn of events.
M23 rebels who surrendered to the Ugandan army are pictured in the village of Rugwerero, about 500km west of Kampala, on November 8. (Isaac Kasamani, AFP)
M23 rebels who surrendered to the Ugandan army are pictured in the village of Rugwerero, about 500km west of Kampala, on November 8. (Isaac Kasamani, AFP)

Rwanda, under intense international pressure over its alleged covert aid to M23 rebels in the eastern DemocraticRepublic of Congo, has maintained total silence since the group’s defeat.
The March 23 Movement (M23) announced this week it was ending its 18-month insurgency after suffering a resounding rout at the hands of the Congolese army with key backing from a special UN intervention brigade.

The rebels are now under pressure to sign a formal peace deal on Monday in Uganda, to where most of its fighters have fled. Scores of wounded fighters have also fled to Rwanda.

UN experts have accused Uganda and in particular Rwanda of backing the rebels, and despite angry denials, officials in Kigali have been clearly anxious over the turn of events.

On the eve of M23′s formal surrender, Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo warned in a radio interview that Kigali’s arch-foe, the DRC-based Rwandan Hutu rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), were moving into positions abandoned by the M23.

“Our intelligence reports indicate that FDLR is coming close to the Rwandan border as M23 is chased out of the territory,” she said on local radio KFM on Monday.

The FDLR, one of a myriad of rebel outfits operating in the Kivu region, is a descendant of Rwandan Hutu extremist groups that carried out the 1994 genocide, during which some 800 000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, were murdered while the world stood by.

Kigali’s minority Tutsi-led government sees them as a continuing threat to Rwanda’s security, which goes some way to explaining their alleged support for the M23—a Tutsi-dominated outfit.

Rwanda’s recent silence contrasts conspicuously with its threats of retaliation made just a couple of weeks earlier when shells allegedly fired by the DRC army hit its territory, raising fears that the conflict could widen.
Rwanda’s first venture into the former Zaire came in 1996, aimed at preventing the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide from re-arming. That drew little or no criticism at the time—partly because of Western guilt over failing the stop the genocide.

Its subsequent ventures into its mineral-rich neighbour, starting with the second Congo war in 1998, have been gradually less popular, but it was its backing for the M23 rebels, who are accused of rights abuses including rape and recruiting child soldiers, that sparked a fierce diplomatic backlash.
Criticism

In the 18 months of M23′s existence, Rwanda has come in for criticism from even its most loyal supporters: foreign capitals including Washington, London, The Hague, Berlin and Stockholm suspended or cut some of their bilateral support to Kigali, which they have otherwise championed for its remarkable post-genocide economic recovery.

“Rwanda overplayed its hand in the M23 gamble,” said Kris Berwouts, an independent analyst on conflict and security in the Great Lakes region.

“The reaction of Rwanda’s traditional partners went way beyond its [Rwanda's] worst fears … it was absolutely clear that its future moves and actions would be looked upon with great suspicion,” he said.
Analysts have largely attributed the M23′s humiliating defeat to intense pressure applied by the UN Security Council and particularly the United States on Rwanda, ensuring that Kigali could not afford to bail out the rebels, whose military leader Sultani Makenga is under UN and US sanctions.

Rwanda “had no choice” but to stand down amid the latest fighting, another regional expert told Agence France-Presse.

Analysts also cited differences of opinion within Kigali’s power structure—centred around strongman and President Paul Kagame, who has dominated the country since his then-rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front ended the genocide in 1994.

Some figures in Kigali, analysts say, want to maintain a strategic presence in North Kivu—for both security and economic reasons—while others think it is no longer worth it.

It now remains to be seen how much enthusiasm the UN intervention brigade will put into going after the FDLR and other armed groups that terrorise civilians—seen as the key next step in efforts to put an end to two decades of war and regional meddling in the region. – AFP


Rwanda silent over M23 rebel defeat



 November 10, 2013

Rwanda, under intense international pressure over its alleged covert aid to M23 rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, has maintained total silence since the group’s defeat.
The March 23 Movement (M23) announced this week it was ending its 18-month insurgency after suffering a resounding rout at the hands of the Congolese army with key backing from a special UN intervention brigade.

The rebels are now under pressure to sign a formal peace deal on Monday in Uganda, to where most of its fighters have fled. Scores of wounded fighters have also fled to Rwanda.
UN experts have accused Uganda and in particular Rwanda of backing the rebels, and despite angry denials, officials in Kigali have been clearly anxious over the turn of events.

On the eve of M23′s formal surrender, Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo warned in a radio interview that Kigali’s arch-foe, the DRC-based Rwandan Hutu rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), were moving into positions abandoned by the M23.

“Our intelligence reports indicate that FDLR is coming close to the Rwandan border as M23 is chased out of the territory,” she said on local radio KFM on Monday.

The FDLR, one of a myriad of rebel outfits operating in the Kivu region, is a descendant of Rwandan Hutu extremist groups that carried out the 1994 genocide, during which some 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, were murdered while the world stood by.

Kigali’s minority Tutsi-led government sees them as a continuing threat to Rwanda’s security, which goes some way to explaining their alleged support for the M23 — a Tutsi-dominated outfit.
Internal differences
Rwanda’s recent silence contrasts conspicuously with its threats of retaliation made just a couple of weeks earlier when shells allegedly fired by the DR Congo army hit its territory, raising fears that the conflict could widen.

Rwanda’s first venture into the former Zaire came in 1996, aimed at preventing the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide from re-arming. That drew little or no criticism at the time — partly because of Western guilt over failing the stop the genocide.

Its subsequent ventures into its mineral-rich neighbour, starting with the second Congo war in 1998, have been gradually less popular, but it was its backing for the M23 rebels, who are accused of rights abuses including rape and recruiting child soldiers, that sparked a fierce diplomatic backlash.

In the 18 months of M23′s existence, Rwanda has come in for criticism from even its most loyal supporters: foreign capitals including Washington, London, The Hague, Berlin and Stockholm suspended or cut some of their bilateral support to Kigali, which they have otherwise championed for its remarkable post-genocide economic recovery.

“Rwanda overplayed its hand in the M23 gamble,” said Kris Berwouts, an independent analyst on conflict and security in the Great Lakes region.

“The reaction of Rwanda’s traditional partners went way beyond its (Rwanda’s) worst fears… it was absolutely clear that its future moves and actions would be looked upon with great suspicion,” he said.
Analysts have largely attributed the M23′s humiliating defeat to intense pressure applied by the UN Security Council and particularly the United States on Rwanda, ensuring that Kigali could not afford to bail out the rebels, whose military leader Sultani Makenga is under UN and US sanctions.

Rwanda “had no choice” but to stand down amid the latest fighting, another regional expert told AFP.
Analysts also cited differences of opinion within Kigali’s power structure — centred around strongman and President Paul Kagame, who has dominated the country since his then-rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front ended the genocide in 1994.

Some figures in Kigali, analysts say, want to maintain a strategic presence in North Kivu — for both security and economic reasons — while others think it is no longer worth it.

It now remains to be seen how much enthusiasm the UN intervention brigade will put into going after the FDLR and other armed groups that terrorise civilians — seen as the key next step in efforts to put an end to two decades of war and regional meddling in the region.
AFP



How The US Masterminded M23 Downfall

http://www.inyenyerinews.org/politiki/how-the-us-masterminded-m23-downfall/  

 



M23 rebels walk inside an enclosure after surrendering to Uganda's government at Rugwerero village in Kisoro district on Friday. Reuters.
M23 rebels walk inside an enclosure after surrendering to Uganda’s government at Rugwerero village in Kisoro district on Friday. Reuters.

Sultani Makenga, the commander of the M23 rebel group in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday surrendered in Uganda alongside hundreds of M23 fighters in the Mgahinga National Park.

This came after an offensive last week by the Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers backed by UN troops defeated the M23 rebels, who launched an uprising in the mineral-rich east of the country in early 2012.
Details have now emerged about the key role the United States played that finally brought down the curtains on the activities of the M23.

US ROLE

The United States exerted key pressure on Rwanda to halt its support for M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, seeking to end the latest conflict in the Great Lakes region of Africa.
Washington had already put its ally Rwanda on notice in July 2012, freezing annual military assistance of $200,000.

Then, a month ago, Washington announced sanctions concerning the training of Rwandan officers.
The goal was to get the government of President Paul Kagame to break completely with the Tutsi mutineers of the M23.

“It is clear that the US has been behind the scene putting more pressure on Rwanda,” said Richard Downie of Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

He cited as evidence “the assistance over the border from Rwanda which was pretty significant until farly recently has trickled down to virtually nothing in the past few weeks.”

Kagame took power after the 1994 genocide committed by Hutu extremists, and the United States has supported his Tutsi-led government for nearly 20 years.

But now, Downie said, Washington has “very slowly, but increasingly come around to the view that Rwanda is the critical piece of trying to resolve this chronic conflict and that Rwanda’s role has been frankly very unhelpful.”

After long keeping quiet, in recent months Washington embraced reports from the United Nations and claims from DR Congo accusing Rwanda and Uganda of providing military support to the M23 in the North Kivu region. Both countries deny this.

The US special envoy for the Great Lakes region, Russ Feingold, a former senator and expert in the region, recalled Wednesday that the sanctions imposed last month were motivated by “the recruitment or assistance in terms of children soldiers for the M23 and involvement of Rwanda in that.”

But the punishment could be lifted if it is shown that Kigali has in fact broken ties with the rebels, Feingold said.

A foreign policy priority for Obama

US President Barack Obama.
US President Barack Obama.

Feingold did not hide the fact that the withdraw of Rwandan support for the M23 was due in part to behind the scenes work by American diplomats, in particular to phone calls from Secretary of State John Kerry to Kagame and other leaders in the region.

Without confirming the date of the last conversation between Kerry and Kagame, a State Department official told international media: “Secretary Kerry and other officials have regularly raised our concerns about support for armed groups such as M23 with various leaders in the region, including President Kagame.”
Feingold said the level of US engagement in the region is “probably unprecedented,” adding it is one of the first priorities of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

Feingold noted his own full time appointment to his post in July — which came at the request of UN counterpart Mary Robinson and EU counterpart Koen Vervaeke — and the strong involvement of the United States in efforts to conclude regional peace talks underway in Kampala, Uganda for the past 11 months.

After 20 years of war in the region that have left five to six million dead, according to US estimates, Downie agreed with Feingold that “the US is driven really by an humanitarian agenda in the Congo and the genuine desire to try to tackle this conflict.”

But, he cautioned, “this a chronic long-running conflict, although we have a moment of optimism right now with M23 disbanding, this is by no means the end of the road in terms of solving these problems.”


Uganda Warns That M23 Congo Rebels Could Regroup

 http://www.inyenyerinews.org/human-rights/uganda-warns-that-m23-congo-rebels-could-regroup/ 

M23 fighters who retreated into Uganda after being hammered by U.N.-backed Congolese government forces “can still regroup,” Ugandan government spokesman said Tuesday.
M23 fighters who retreated into Uganda after being hammered by U.N.-backed Congolese government forces "can still regroup," Ugandan government spokesman said Tuesday.
M23 fighters who retreated into Uganda after being hammered by U.N.-backed Congolese government forces “can still regroup,” Ugandan government spokesman said Tuesday.

Ofwono Opondo’s warning came after Congolese government officials delayed signing a peace accord with the insurgents. The ceremony planned for Monday evening was postponed after Congolese officials asked for more time to review the final document.

Ugandan officials with knowledge of the negotiations reported a breakdown of trust between Ugandan mediators and Congolese officials. Some members of Uganda’s military have supported the Congolese M23 rebels and the Rwandan government has provided even greater backing, according to a United Nations group of experts.

In negotiations convened after the rebels appeared to be losing the fight, the Congolese delegation said they could no longer hold face-to-face meetings with M23′s civilian leaders, said the Ugandan government spokesman, Ofwono Opondo.

“They don’t want to be seen to be equal to M23,” Opondo said.
Uganda’s deputy foreign minister, Okello Oryem, told reporters late Monday that Congo’s government was not comfortable with the idea of a “peace agreement” with M23, saying it instead wanted a “declaration” that M23 is a vanquished “negative force.”

Another apparent sticking point is the fate of the M23 military commander who recently fled with at least 1,665 of his fighters to Uganda amid a heightened offensive by Congolese government troops in neighboring eastern Congo. The U.N. has imposed a travel ban and assets freeze on Sultani Makenga, a former Congolese army colonel, for “serious violations of international law involving the targeting of women and children” as leader of M23. Congolese government officials want to see Makenga tried for his alleged crimes.

Opondo said Makenga “is not a prisoner” in Uganda and may only be handed over to Congolese authorities after a final peace accord has been signed.

U.S. special envoy Russ Feingold urged the parties to ensure that those who have committed war crimes, crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity will be held accountable. Feingold told The Associated Press on Monday that the peace deal offers no amnesty for rebels accused of committing serious crimes and no automatic reintegration of the rebels into the national army. Ugandan officials confirmed that the rebel delegation had accepted these conditions.

The Congolese government delegation to the Uganda talks is led by Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda. It was not possible to get his comment.

Makenga, 39, emerged as M23′s top commander earlier this year following a violent split within the rebel ranks that saw the ouster of Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda, who then fled to Rwanda before handing himself over to the International Criminal Court. Hundreds of M23 rebels allied with Ntaganda also fled to Rwanda at the time.

M23 launched its rebellion in April 2012, becoming the latest reincarnation of a Tutsi rebel group dissatisfied with the Congolese government. The rebels accused Congo’s government of failing to honor all the terms of a peace deal signed in March 2009 with M23′s precursor group, the CNDP.

At their peak the M23 rebels overtook Goma, a provincial capital in Congo. But in the past year they had been weakened by internal divisions and waning Rwandan support. The Congolese military capitalized on these rebel setbacks by pushing ahead with new offensives beginning in August that were supported by a brigade of U.N. military forces with a mandate to attack the rebels.
Agencies