Uganda sets June as deadline for DR Congo peace talks

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The Ugandan government on Wednesday set June as the deadline of the ongoing talks between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government and M23 rebels.

Okello Oryem, Uganda’s minister of state for international affairs, told reporters here that by early or mid June the conflicting parties must have come out with a peace agreement.

“The negotiation and dialogue is going on progressively and we have decided that it needs a cutoff point, because you cannot have a dialogue that continues for ever. We hope that this dialogue between the two protagonists will be finished by June,” he said.

Uganda chairs the International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), a 11 member state regional organization under whose auspice the talks are being mediated.

Oryem said there is no need for the talks to go on for a long period of time when most of the M23 concerns can or have been addressed.

Although Oryem was not specific on whether after the June ultimatum the military offensive by the UN authorized intervention force would start, he said the brigade is determined to wipe out negative forces from eastern DRC including the M23.

At the resumption of the Ugandan mediated talks early this month, the M23 was concerned that they were being targeted by the intervention force despite efforts to sit at the negotiation table.

The DRC government delegation assured the rebel outfit that it would not be attacked provided they remained at the negotiation table and conclude the talks.

Oryem said although the DRC crisis cannot be concluded militarily, the DRC political leadership must find solutions to the decades of fighting in eastern part of the vast central African country.

There is increasing pressure from the region and the international community on the DRC government to take political measures to ensure that varied political views in the country are accepted.