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Hometown: Chicago area in Indiana
Home country: USA
Current location: Burlington, Vermont
Member since: Tue Jan 18, 2005, 11:05 AM
Number of posts: 59,305

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Congo's M23 rebels declare ceasefire but shelling continues

Source: Reuters

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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government forces, but clashes with the Congolese army continued in the steep, forested hills to where the rebels have withdrawn.

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.

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
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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.


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.


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.


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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