Great Lakes Special Envoys urge DRC parties to cease hostilities

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Displaced families living in Mugunga camp, in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo after their city fell to M23 rebel forces in November 2012 © Kate Holt/IRIN

An international team of Special Envoys for the Great Lakes region has released a joint statement on Monday, expressing concern about the outbreak of violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Fighting resumed last Friday between the M23 Congolese rebel group and Government soldiers.

Jocelyne Sambira has more.

In the statement, the Special Envoys for the Great Lakes region took note of the M23's call for a "cessation of hostilities as a first and necessary step to peace".

However, they also urged M23 to renounce its rebellion as "already agreed". They also called upon the Government of the DRC to restrain from further military action "at this stage".

The envoys are Mary Robinson, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to the Great Lakes Region, Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Head of MONUSCO and Boubacar Diarra, AU Special Representative for the Great Lakes, Russell Feingold, U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes and the DRC, and Koen Vervaeke, EU Senior Coordinator to the Great Lakes Region

The envoys also urged both parties to remain committed to seeing the political process through to a "final and principled agreement".

The peace talks between the DRC Government and M23 rebels, known as the Kampala Dialogue, broke down in October after several days of negotiations, where some progress was made.

The agreement would also ensure accountability for human rights abuses, as well as the disarmament and demobilization of the M23 rebel group.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’22″

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