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Thu Oct 23 01:54:22 SAST 2014

DRC rebels start new peace talks

Sapa-AFP,Reuters | 10 December, 2012 00:01
M23 rebel fighters. File Photo
Image by: JAMES AKENA / REUTERS

REBELS in the Democratic Republic of Congo opened talks yesterday with Kinshasa's government aimed at ending a crisis that has led to widespread atrocities and sparked fears of an all-out regional conflict.

"Today marks the beginning of the dialogue between the government of the DRC and the M23," said Ugandan Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga in his opening statement.

President Jacob Zuma has returned from a Southern African Development Community summit in Tanzania on regional peace and security which dealt with the DRC crisis, his office said yesterday.

"The summit has reaffirmed the commitment of our region to collectively pursue regional peace and stability, particularly with regard to the security situation in the eastern DRC," said Zuma.

Southern African nations pledged on Saturday to provide 4000 troops for a neutral force to be deployed in eastern Congo, where rebels have waged an eight-month rebellion, the SADC said.

South Africa was commended for its pledge of logistical support for the SADC standby force, to operate under the auspices of the Neutral International Force, to which all SADC member states contribute as a bloc.

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