Pretoria Summit makes Peace Deal seem more likely

If the M23 movement in the Democratic Republic of Congo publicly renounces its rebellion, Kinshasa will accept the announcement and a peace deal will be signed five days later, say southern and east African leaders. In a communique issued today, a joint summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) said peace talks in Kampala have reached agreement on “all the 11 issues under discussion.” The summit was held in Pretoria yesterday.

The communique did not spell out details of what the 11 issues were, but went on to say that M23 and the DR Congo government “would sign an agreement on condition that the M23 makes a public declaration renouncing rebellion, after which the Government would make a public declaration of acceptance.” It added: “Five days after this is done, then a formal signing of the agreement would be done.” The summit was presided over by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who chairs the ICGLR, and President Joyce Banda of Malawi, who chairs SADC. It was also attended by President Joseph Kabila of the DRC Congo, and Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo. It was well attended by southern African leaders in particular.

The communique also commended DR Congo government forces and the United Nations-backed Intervention Brigade, mainly comprising South African and Tanzanian troops, for recapturing M23 strongholds and restoring government control in recent weeks. The summit urged the UN mission in the DR Congo and the brigade “to maintain its enforcement mandate and capability with regard to uprooting all negative forces in the eastern DRC.” It said a technical support committee had begun work, developing “benchmarks and indicators of progress” for international and regional parties to meet in implementing an overall peace and security agreement for the Great Lakes region. It also urged its member states “to hand over negative forces to their countries of origin.”

Well, let us all hold thumbs!

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