GOMA, DR CONGO and WASHINGTON, DC –(ENEWSPF)–December 7, 2012. Regional peace talks on eastern Congo’s crisis due to begin today in Kampala, Uganda are not enough to resolve the protracted conflict, says the Enough Project.
The regional talks—which include Congolese President Joseph Kabila, the M23 rebel movement, and a very limited number of Congolese civil society groups—must be broadened to include wider representation of civil society, political parties, and the private sector in order to address the systemic economic and political drivers of the war, according to an Enough Project policy brief.
Fighting between the M23 rebel group and the Congolese army escalated two weeks ago, when the rebels seized control of Goma, a key city in eastern Congo. To address the growing violence, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will broker the Kampala talks, the first round of which is expected to take no more than one week. However, Museveni’s role as mediator is particularly concerning because a U.N. Group of Experts report recently linked Uganda to support for the M23.
John Prendergast, Enough Project Co-founder, said:
“The UN Security Council must act quickly to appoint a senior, respected African mediator to work with the African Union and help lead a broadened peace process quickly. Regional governments can’t be both negotiating and mediating at the same time, as that excludes the vast majority of eastern Congolese voices and issues from consideration. The Obama administration should support the process robustly and appoint a senior presidential envoy to work with the UN and AU mediators. This is only the start of the process, but the international community must be swift, before a hasty deal is made that will only patch over the real issues at hand.”
Sasha Lezhnev, Enough Project Senior Policy Analyst, said:
“The peace process, as it currently stands, is going to be far too narrow, both on the issues it covers and the players that are involved. The bigger political issues remain for President Kabila, which is going to be a major problem for him, because his power is waning. Congolese civil society and political parties must be brought in through a wider inter-Congolese dialogue. If the talks only focus on security, rather than the critical underlying political and economic issues, the crisis will repeat itself again in two years.”
Aaron Hall, co-author of the brief and Enough Project Associate Director of Research, said:
“The current conflict in eastern Congo has revealed new evidence of support for armed groups from the governments of Rwanda and Uganda and confirmed evidence of continued mismanagement within the governance and security sectors of Congo. However, the causes and dynamics of the long-standing conflict are unchanged. If the cycle of regional foreign intervention, economic exploitation, and rapacious governance in eastern Congo is not broken, there is no chance for peace in the region.”
Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a“3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.