News24

New neutral DRC force planned

2012-10-09 20:24

Kinshasa - Plans to set up a neutral force in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo have made progress and the operational concept should be made public in the next two weeks, Kinshasa said on Tuesday.

The news came at the end of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) summit in Kampala attended by DR Congo President Joseph Kabila and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame, who have accused each other of supporting armed groups in the east.

"An operational concept of the neutral force should be presented in two weeks," DRC spokesperson Lambert Mende said.

Progress had been made largely thanks to the help of experts "sent by the United Nations Mission in Congo (Monusco) and the United Nations," he said,

The summit was the fourth to discuss the neutral force idea put forward by the conference in July.

Kinshasa wants Monusco and its 19 000 men to be involved in the force, while Rwanda is suspicious of the mission which it considers to be biased.

No statement had been issued half a day after work ended but Rwandan officials noted on Tuesday morning "regular progress".

Mende described as "jokers" leaders of the M23 chief rebel movement, accused of the creating the troubles in the east.

In a statement it said that talks were continuing between itself and the DRC government.

Mende said the conference had called on M23 to dissolve itself and there could be no discussion between it and Kinshasa.