Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is meeting with his Democratic Republic of Congo counterpart, Joseph Kabila in Kampala to discuss the stalled peace process between the latter’s government and the defeated M23 rebels.
Early last month, both sides failed to reach an agreement after negotiations convened in the wake of rebels’ military defeat. The Congolese delegation said they could no longer hold face-to-face meetings with M23′s civilian leaders.
Many are hoping that Monday’s meeting between Museveni and Kabila will revive the faltering process that has been marred by accusations and denials.
A spokesman for the DRC government, Lambert Mende, last month blamed mediator Uganda for the breakdown. The Ugandan government denies this charge.
This comes as the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, Mary Robinson concludes a week-long mission of the region that was aimed at boosting peace efforts.
M23 launched its rebellion in April 2012, becoming the latest reincarnation of a Tutsi rebel group dissatisfied with the Congolese government. The rebels accused Congo’s government of failing to honor all the terms of a peace deal signed in March 2009 with M23′s precursor group, the CNDP.
At their peak the M23 rebels overtook Goma, a provincial capital in Congo. But in the past year they had been weakened by internal divisions and waning Rwandan support. The Congolese military capitalized on these rebel setbacks by pushing ahead with new offensives beginning in August that were supported by a brigade of U.N. military forces with a mandate to attack the rebels.
Despite the demise of M23, a plethora of other rebel groups operate in Congo’s mineral-rich east, which is also riddled with conflicts over land, ethnicity and access to resources.