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Inter-Congolese peace talks to resume in February in eastern DRC

The fourth round of the dialogue between the DR Congo government and armed groups is set to begin in mid-February, the office of Uhuru Kenyatta, the facilitator of the East African Community-led peace process.Inter-Congolese peace talks to resume in February in eastern DRC

For the first time, the inter-Congolese dialogue will be held in eastern DR Congo, a region that has known no peace for decades. The previous rounds took place in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

After a meeting on Thursday, January 12 between Kenyatta Bertrand Bisimwa, president of the M23 rebel group, which was side-lined from the third round of talks held in late November to early December 2022, the facilitator’s office said the peace talks will be brought closer to the conflict zones.

Kenyatta and the M23 leader “acknowledged with appreciation that the Nairobi IV consultations expected to commence in mid to late February 2023 will directly seek to consolidate all the considerable gains of the last few months and assist in bringing greater peace and stability to the eastern DRC,” reads a statement from the facilitator’s office.

“They took note and expressed gratitude that the Nairobi IV Intra-Congolese consultations will be held in key towns of eastern DRC and thereby bring the Nairobi process closer to the various affected communities.”

 

The M23 began pulling out of its occupied positions in December 2022, a move touted as a goodwill gesture made in the name of peace.

Eastern Congolese provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri are home to more than 120 local and foreign armed groups.

At the meeting with Kenyatta, the M23 rebel leader demanded that all the other armed groups lay down their weapons and give peace a chance.

However, it remains to be seen whether the M23 will be invited to the talks to be held probably in Goma and Bukavu, capitals of North Kivu and South Kivu provinces, respectively.

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