DRC govt declares ‘total victory’ over rebels

2013-11-05 11:15

Hours after a joint summit in Pretoria by almost a dozen heads of state declared a peace deal for the Democratic Republic of the Congo if the M23 rebels renounced their rebellion, AFP reported the DRC government has declared “total victory” over the movement.

A government spokesperson said in an SMS the last elements of the M23 have abandoned their positions in Runyonyi and Chanzu after pressure by government forces.

Presidents from close to a dozen countries in Southern Africa and the Great Lakes region gathered at the Department of International Relations headquarters last night to discuss peace in the DRC and the region.

According to a communiqué issued after the summit, which ended after midnight, the parties involved in the DRC conflict would sign an agreement “on condition that the M23 makes a public declaration renouncing rebellion”.

After this, the DRC government would publicly accept, and five days later a formal agreement would be signed.

President Joseph Kabila from the DRC attended, together with heads of state from Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Rwandan president Paul Kagame, however, did not attend the summit because his schedule didn’t allow it. His government is blamed by some for being sympathetic to the rebels.

President Jacob Zuma, who was in the DRC on a state visit last week, emphasised the need for peace-building efforts in the country.

He urged the summit in his opening address not only to enter into agreements. “We should also commit ourselves to do everything possible to ensure their implementation,” he said.

He said the regions should work hard to restore peace and stability and to accelerate economic development.

“Continued political instability in the Great Lakes denies the people of the region the ability to fully exploit their economic potential, despite the region’s large reserves of minerals, and has resulted in untold suffering,” he said.

Later today Zuma will be hosting a summit on the establishment of an African Union force to respond to crises.

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