WASHINGTON –(ENEWSPF)–September 27, 2012. Following four years of gradual progress toward peace, eastern Congo now stands on the precipice of disaster. The African Union must establish a revitalized peace process between Congo and the Rwanda-backed M23 rebellion to prevent the current conflict from escalating into inter-state war, according to a new Enough Project brief.
Tomorrow, September 27, a meeting at the United Nations between Congolese President Joseph Kabila, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and other world leaders offers a chance to launch a viable peace process for the region. At that meeting, the U.S. and its allies must convey strong messages to both Congo and Rwanda about a cessation of hostilities, the protection of civilians, and the establishment of a road-map towards a sustainable political solution to the crisis.
“While the U.S. must continue to press Rwanda to end its support to M23, it must also put pressure on Congo to address continued failures of the state to provide basic governance and security,” said Aaron Hall, co-author of the brief and Enough Project associate director of research. “The U.S. must also work with regional partners and the U.N. to create a process to address longstanding grievances between Congo and Rwanda. Military solutions alone will fail.”
Since June, the International Conference on the Great Lakes region has mediated talks between Kabila and Kagame on security issues, largely ignoring the underlying political and economic issues between the two countries. To bring about sustainable peace, the brief calls for a revitalized peace process that takes all of these issues into account, as well as holds perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity accountable.
The brief asserts that the U.S., U.K., France and Belgium can play a key role in ensuring progress toward peace by supporting the process with strong international incentives and disincentives, including sanctions and conditional funding.
“Eastern Congo stands at the precipice of disaster, but Thursday’s meeting at the United Nations offers a chance to reignite a peace process between Congo and Rwanda to resolve their underlying political and economic interests,” said Sasha Lezhnev, Senior Congo Policy Analyst at the Enough Project. “The regional talks should be mediated by a senior African leader, and the Obama administration has a golden opportunity to offer carrots and sticks for the peace process by first putting World Bank general budget support to Rwanda on hold until it agrees to dismantle the M23 rebellion.”
Read the full report: “A Diplomatic Gambit: A Proposal for Moving Peace Talks Forward in Eastern Congo.”
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.