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Africa
Sep 8 2012 2:40PM
 
Regional leaders meet on DR Congo unrest
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Regional heads of state began talks on Saturday in an effort to find a lasting solution to chronic unrest in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The mini-summit opened in the Ugandan capital a day late after officials said that regional defence ministers failed to agree on the proposals to be discussed.

DR Congo President Joseph Kabila is attending the talks called and hosted by Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni. But Rwandan President Paul Kagame is staying away, represented by his defence and foreign ministers.

A UN report in June accused Rwanda of backing the rebels, causing a surge in tensions with neighbouring DR Congo. Kigali denies the charge, and has been in talks with Kinshasa to set up a "neutral force" to tackle the unrest.

Eastern DR Congo has been hit hard by a new rebellion by army defectors who formed a group called the M23, whose members are former fighters in an ethnic Tutsi rebel movement integrated into the military under a 2009 peace deal.

"While there has been a lull in military activities by the M23 in North Kivu since July, the situation remains very fragile," the top United Nations' official for central Africa, Abou Moussa, said in a message ahead of the summit.

"I call for the group's immediate and complete cessation of all destabilising activities," he added.

Also attending the meeting, the third in two months, is Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and his counterpart from South Sudan Salva Kiir.

The meeting will consider recommendations drawn up by a panel of regional defence ministers at a meeting in mid-August in the eastern DRC town of Goma.  -Sapa-AFP

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