Tension As Uganda Warns DRC


buy geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>Government spokesperson, order Ofwono Opondo, treat on Wednesday expressed Kampala’s anger at DRC officials’ remarks that Uganda was biased during the peace negotiations and intended to coerce President Joseph Kabila’s representatives into an agreement that was not favourable to Kinshasha.

Opondo told press in Kampala that “Uganda has been fair in the negotiations” and that “we take exception to this slander by DRC’s information Minister.”

DRC government spokesperson, Lambert Mende, was on Tuesday quoted by the international media as saying “Uganda seems now to be acting as part of the conflict. It has interests in M23.”

Mende, who last week warned that DRC would not sign the peace agreement with M23 even after the Movement announced rebellion, added: “What are we supposed to sign? No country in history has signed an agreement with a movement that has declared its own dissolution.”

Mende also alleged that Kinshasa wanted the rebels to pledge not to take up arms again “but Uganda was blocking this.”

The comments have not gone down well with Uganda which is hosting thousands of refugees from Congo.

Uganda has been mediating in the Kampala peace talks and also convinced M23 to vacate Goma, the provincial town it had captured from DRC soldiers in 2012.

Opondo said “at no particular point at the 10 months of dialogue did the DRC government point out bias from the Uganda government.”

He further stressed that “every page of the document was looked at by both parties,” and that Uganda “believes all the 11 points have been agreed upon.”

Opondo said there was urgent need to put into perspective the fact that President Museveni took over leadership of the Inter Conference on Great Lakes Region November 15, 2010.

He said the “doors of the negotiator (Museveni) remain open for both parties to continue the dialogue.”

Regarding the fate of M23 military commander, Brig Sultani Makenga, Opondo said Uganda would be breaching international obligations “if we handed back the people to the DRC government.”

“We have lived up to international obligations. So far there is a delegation from United Nations, SADC, African Union which is headed to Kasese for the verification exercise.”

He said Makenga is within Uganda’s boundaries and that other M23 fighters are in cantonment.

The altercation between Uganda and DRC is likely to strain relations between the two countries.

DRC shares the view held by some international community actors that Rwanda and Uganda have been funding the M23 rebellion, a charge both countries deny.

The signing of an Agreement between the government of DRC and the M23 Movement intended to end violent and armed conflict in the DRC that was due to take place on November, 11, 2013 at 4.00PM in State House Entebbe did not take place as had been expected.

While both delegations-DRC government led by its Foreign Affairs Minister on the one hand, and M23 led by Mr. Bertrand Bisimwa came and were present in State House, the DRC government delegation never entered the conference room where the signing ceremony was to be conducted.

After a long wait, the convener, President Yoweri Museveni left Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Sekandi to keep waiting for the DRC government delegation with instructions that if they came and were ready, the agreement be signed.

The DRC government delegation much later informally asked the facilitator for and was given the final text of the agreement document which they said they wanted to further study in detail to ensure it conforms to what they negotiated.

This process of studying the document took quite a long time till 9.30pm and subsequently Vice President adjourned the signing ceremony indefinitely.


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