adiposity http://compagniedoucefrance.fr/media/widgetkit/widgets/slideset/styles/radiance/template.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>At exactly 7.30 pm East African time on Thursday, sales M23 leader, Mr Bertrand Bisiimwa, penned his signature to the declaration of commitments on behalf of the Movement of March 23 (M23) followed by Congolese Minister for foreign affairs, Tshibanda Raymond, at State House, Nairobi.
According to Presidential Communications Assistant, Sarah Kagingo, “the DRC Government and M23 have respectively signed declarations reflecting the consensus reached during the Kampala Dialogue on steps necessary to end the armed activities of M23 and on measures necessary for the realisation of long term stability, reconciliation and development in Eastern DRC.”
The two declarations taken together articulate the 11 points that were negotiated and agreed upon by the parties.
They include the decision by M23 to end rebellion and transform itself into a legitimate party; granting amnesty to members of M23 ‘only for acts of war and insurgency;’ and transitional Security arrangements leading to disarmament.
The two camps also agreed to the release of M23 members under detention by the DRC Government for acts of war and rebellion; demobilisation of the former M23 combatants; return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes; and formation of a commission to handle confiscated, extorted, stolen, looted and destroyed properties, including land.
The declaration also provides ground for national reconciliation and justice, social, security and economic reforms; implementation of the conclusions of the review of the implementation of the 23rd March 2009 agreement; and implementation, monitoring and evaluation mechanism for the agreed positions.
However, the United States insists that senior officials accused of serious crimes must face the law.
“While we welcome this important progress, much work remains. M23 must be disarmed and demobilized. Those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity must be held to account,” said Caitlin Hayden, National Security Council Spokesperson on the African Great Lakes Region on Thursday night.
Hayden added: “For too long, the people of the African Great Lakes region have suffered as a result of conflict and instability. Today’s signing moves us one step closer to bringing decades of violence to an end.”
The international community’s insistence that Brig Sultani Makenga and his commanders face war crimes charges had stalled the peace talks.
The regional leaders would later prevail over UN, France and US, arguing that Makenga’s hanging would not bring peace to the region.
It is thought Makenga, who had a following of over 2,000 armed fighters, will receive a refugee status in a neighboring country as negotiations for his amnesty continue.
The defeated M23 combatants currently maintained at a military facility in Kasese, are expected to be handed over to DRC authorities in line with the provisions of Nairobi peace deal.
Hayden said the United States commends the parties for reaching this accord, and Ugandan President Museveni for his role in bringing the Kampala Dialogue to a successful close.
“As the countries of the region work to usher in a new era of security and prosperity, the United States and the international community stand with them as partners for peace and for progress.”