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Sun Nov 3, 2013, 05:28 PM

Congo's M23 rebels declare ceasefire but shelling continues

Last edited Sun Nov 3, 2013, 06:59 PM - Edit history (1)

Source: Reuters

[div class = "excerpt"]
Congo's M23 rebels declared a ceasefire on Sunday after a string of defeats by government forces, but clashes with the Congolese army continued in the steep, forested hills to where the rebels have withdrawn.
<snip>

Uganda, which has led attempts to end the rebellion, has called for both sides to stop fighting. A spokesman for Congo's government called the rebel statement "a step in the right direction" but said it was waiting to see if the ceasefire was implemented on the ground.

<snip>
Congo's government has dispatched senior negotiators to talks in Uganda but the army is keen to finish off the rebellion, the last in a series of uprisings led by Congolese Tutsis and linked to Rwanda.

In a sign of optimism for an end to violence that has killed millions through conflict and related disease, Russ Feingold, U.S. special envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa, had said a peace deal could be reached as soon as this weekend.



Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/03/us-congo-democratic-rebels-idUSBRE9A208120131103



The civil war in the Congo has killed millions. Russ Feingold, as chair of the African sub committee of the SFRC and Kerry as the chair both held several hearings on the problem. ( Hillary Clinton visited the area in 2009 and spoke of the evil use of rape as a weapon of war)

Last June, Kerry announced that Russ Feingold would be a special envoy to the Great Lakes Region. http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014511980 In the past,The US, especially Susan Rice, were criticized as too close to Rwanda. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/world/un-envoy-rice-faulted-for-rwanda-tie-in-congo-conflict.html

Earlier this fall, Kerry chaired a UN session on both Syria, Israel/Palestine and the Great Lakes
[div class = "excerpt"]
Secretary of State John Kerry made his first official visit to the United Nations on Thursday to discuss three of the world’s most intractable crises: the turmoil in Africa’s Great Lakes region, the Syrian war and what he called “the granddaddy of them all,” the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

<snip>

Leading a delegation that included a former Senate colleague, Russ Feingold, whom he appointed as his special envoy to the Great Lakes region last month, Mr. Kerry’s main order of business at the United Nations on Thursday was to lead a special Security Council meeting on the protracted conflicts in the area that he said had been “beleaguered by targeted, egregious violence.”

The Great Lakes region includes Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the mineral-rich eastern section of the Democratic Republic of Congo, an area of recurrent fighting, atrocities and no government authority. Millions of Congolese have been killed since the 1990s in chronic mayhem and pillaging carried out by armed groups vying for control of the area’s abundant resources.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/world/middleeast/kerry-visits-un-to-discuss-world-crises.html

Last week there were several stories that spoke of how the UN effort to fight the M23 guerrillas in the Congo were on the verge of success partially due to Secretary Kerry successfully persuaded Rwanda to end its support of the rebels. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/democraticrepublicofcongo/10417909/DR-Congo-M23-rebels-close-to-defeat-after-US-and-Britain-urge-Rwanda-to-stay-out.html

Last week the UN stepped up pressure on the DRC government and the M23 to reach agreement at long-running negotiations in Kampala. Russ Feingold was considered a "balanced" mediator between the countries.

The US's new representative for Africa's Great Lakes region has upped the pressure on Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to end the bloody M23 rebellion in north-east DRC.

After years of close relations between Washington and Rwanda, Russ Feingold is being welcomed as more "balanced" in his dealings with both governments.

Feingold, who took over as Great Lakes envoy in September, met DRC President Joseph Kabila on Tuesday before flying to Kigali where he was expected to meet President Paul Kagame.

Last week the UN stepped up pressure on the DRC government and the M23 to reach agreement at long-running negotiations in Kampala.


http://allafrica.com/stories/201310231582.html

Here is another article written last week, that provides a lot of context to the war and how this is an historic moment, but it does not mean that everything will be peaceful. http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/Africa-Monitor/2013/1031/In-East-Congo-days-of-high-drama-as-long-war-begins-to-end-video


This really is a major foreign policy accomplishment for Obama working with the UN and the countries in the region.

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Reply Congo's M23 rebels declare ceasefire but shelling continues (Original post)
karynnj Nov 2013 OP
Posteritatis Nov 2013 #1
karynnj Nov 2013 #2
Posteritatis Nov 2013 #3
karynnj Nov 2013 #4
Posteritatis Nov 2013 #5
blm Nov 2013 #8
Blue_Tires Nov 2013 #13
muriel_volestrangler Nov 2013 #6
karynnj Nov 2013 #7
muriel_volestrangler Nov 2013 #9
karynnj Nov 2013 #10
muriel_volestrangler Nov 2013 #11
karynnj Nov 2013 #12

Response to karynnj (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 06:14 PM

1. Pretty much anything bringing that war closer to an end is a good thing

The wars in the Congo are the nastiest armed conflict underway on the planet; that needs to come to an end.

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:06 PM

2. Absolutely

It amazes me that so many have died and we barely hear about it.

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Response to karynnj (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:16 PM

3. It's both depressing and infuriating how off the radar it is

I mean, even leaving aside the fact that it's the worst conflict since the Second World War, it astonishes me that there's something that's been going on and off for a generation, a chunk of which is actually called "the Great War" by the locals, which most people don't have the least clue about. (Or, worse, just dismiss it. "Oh, they're just tribes anyway."

If that ends up coming to a conclusion, either at the negotiating table or through enough factions finally getting decisively beaten, it can only be a good thing for the entire continent.

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:19 PM

4. I have to admit that the first time I heard of it was when watching

a SFRC hearing -- because I was fascinated by the fact that they were publicly available on the website-- and that was 2005 or afterward -- well into the war.

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Response to karynnj (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:30 PM

5. I'd heard of it some years earlier due to Dallaire trying to keep the region in the spotlight

He's pretty much spent his whole life since Rwanda trying to get people to stop pretending that sub-Saharan Africa either doesn't exist or is irrelevant. Hit and miss on the success rate since we, well, generally suck as a society when it comes to keeping that in mind, but for people who want to pay attention it's hard not to, especially after hearing a little bit about it.

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Response to karynnj (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 11:29 AM

8. Hillary's passivity as SoS was treated as lofty accomplishments by corpmedia.

Kerry's proactive approach to diplomacy that this nation hasn't seen in many decades gets roundly ignored.

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 01:21 PM

13. +1

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Response to karynnj (Original post)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 08:21 AM

6. DR Congo hit by fresh fighting as army presses M23

Fresh fighting has erupted in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo as government forces try to clear the last areas held by M23 rebels.

The BBC's Ignatius Bahizi in the border town of Bunagana says missiles are being fired and thousands of refugees have fled into Uganda.
...
Other BBC correspondents in the area say the rebels seem to be fighting back more fiercely than on previous days and reports suggest they are advancing.

The latest violence follows a string of victories by government troops who have driven rebels from all towns they once controlled during a 20-month rebellion.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24801091

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #6)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 09:51 AM

7. Let's hope that a peace settlement is reached nt

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Response to karynnj (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 09:58 AM

9. DR Congo claims defeat of M23 rebels

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has claimed victory over M23 rebels in the east of the country.

A government spokesman said the last remaining rebels had either fled across the border or surrendered and their weapons had been destroyed overnight.
...
Government spokesman Lambert Mende told the BBC that Congolese special forces had defeated the rebels, after a week of heavy fighting.

"We can say that it's finished. But you never know. Those who escaped can come with hit-and-run operations so we have to end everything politically so that we are sure our people can sleep quietly without any threat."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24815241


And then:

DR Congo M23 rebels 'end insurgency'

The M23 rebel group in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo says it is ending its insurgency, hours after the government claimed military victory.

In a statement, the movement said it would adopt "purely political means" to achieve its goals and urged its fighters to disarm and demobilise.
...
M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa announced on Tuesday that "the chief of general staff and the commanders of all major units are requested to prepare troops for disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration on terms to be agreed with the government of Congo".
...
Although the statement came after an apparently heavy military defeat, it also followed an agreement by African leaders on Monday night that the M23 should make "a public declaration renouncing rebellion" to allow a peace accord to be signed with the Congolese government.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24816223

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #9)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 10:17 AM

10. The government statement seems very thoughtful

"We can say that it's finished. But you never know. Those who escaped can come with hit-and-run operations so we have to end everything politically so that we are sure our people can sleep quietly without any threat."

For the Congo's sake, I hope that this is real.

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Response to karynnj (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 11:11 AM

11. Cautious optimism in DR Congo as M23 ends rebellion

"This is a critical and exciting step in the right direction," said Mr Feingold, the United States' Special Envoy for the Great Lakes and the DRC, who was in Pretoria, South Africa, for a big regional summit on the topic. He described the enduring instability in the DRC as "one of the toughest problems in the world", but said "it has never seen such sustained (international) attention".

The M23 was forced to end its rebellion by a combination of factors: Concerted international pressure; an unusually competent performance by the DRC's armed forces; the robust action of a new UN "intervention brigade" brought in to give the world's largest peacekeeping force sharper military clout and Rwanda's apparent decision to stop its (alleged) military support for the rebels.

"This is a test case - it has great promise," said Mr Feingold of the role played by the new UN force that worked in close co-ordination with the DRC's military. "It has enormous potential to add great credibility to UN peacekeeping operations (in other conflict zones). It has great promise and significance," he said.

Under the terms of an agreement negotiated in neighbouring Uganda, the Congolese authorities must now cease their military activities against M23, while the rebel leadership must - and this was a crucial breakthrough at the peace talks - be held accountable by Congo's courts for any serious crimes committed. Unlike previous deals, there will be no blanket amnesty and no expectation that the rebels can remain in their (often mutinous) units to be reintegrated into the Congolese army.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24815619

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #11)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 01:09 PM

12. This is a major victory for the UN

I am also so happy that Russ Feingold was given the role of special envoy. He is a very special person. (Strange to think how many people from Obama's time on SFRC are working for him - Biden, Kerry, Hagel and Feingold. )

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