Rebels Refuse To Disarm In Dr Congo, Seeks Direct Talks With
The M23 Rebels group in Eastern democratic republic of Congo have said that they will not disarm or demobilise as long as there is no direct political dialogue with the government in Kinshasa.
The group – which is widely reported to be backed by Rwanda – previously said it was expecting negotiations with the Kinshasa government.
A Rebel spokesman, Lawrence Kanyuka, issued the statement on twitter after the Congolese president Félix Tshisekedi said there would be no political negotiations with the Rebels.
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As part of an internationally brokered peace deal the group has been withdrawing from areas it had captured.
President Tshisekedi said according to the agreement the m23 rebels are to demobilise before returning to civilian life.
Under the brokered peace deal, the group has been withdrawing from areas it had captured.
The U.N. peacekeeping mission received a boost last year with the unprecedented deployments of unarmed surveillance drones and a U.N. Intervention Brigade of 3,000 troops, which helped Congolese forces defeat the M23 rebel group.
Rwanda’s U.N. ambassador, Eugene Gasana, said “military pressure seems to be the only viable option” for disarming the FDLR. “Despite its claims of readiness to disarm, the FDLR continues to recruit and train combatants, including children,” he said.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, backed Kobler’s suggestion, saying military pressure on the FDLR should not be suspended during the demobilization process.
“Given the FDLR’s track record of committing atrocities at the same time that it claims to be demobilizing, this would put even more innocent civilians at risk and undercut broader efforts to establish peace and stability,” Power said.
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Jonathan Oatis
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