Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Negotiations over Congo fighting said to make progress

Reports of progress are emerging from talks between Tutsi rebels and Congo's government in Kenya, where regional diplomats are trying to avoid a repeat of the 1998-2003 war that resulted in an estimated 5 million deaths. A U.N. envoy told reporters in Nairobi that talks are expected to resume later this month, according to the Reuters international news service. "They have made progress in their talks and they will continue," said Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president of Nigeria. "The doors are not closed." Only representatives from Congo's military and Gen. Laurent Nkunda's rebel army showed up for the talks, even though more than 20 armed groups were invited. The talks are aimed at ending fighting in Congo's North Kivu province, which has displaced a quarter of a million people since August. Nkunda's National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) declared a ceasefire with the army after its forces reached the outskirts of Goma, capital of the North Kivu province, in October and the truce has stayed in force for more than a month. But fighting continues between CNDP forces and the Mai Mai militia and Hutu rebels from Rwanda, where hundreds of thousands of Tutsis were killed in 1994. The United Nations has 17,000 peacekeeping troops in Congo.

No comments: