By Raymond Baguma
The Congolese M23 rebels have agreed to hold peace talks with the Congolese government led by President Joseph Kabila in Kampala.
According to the Associated Press, Bertrand Bisimwa, the spokesman for the M23 political branch, the group will come to Uganda for talks.
The Congolese interior minister, Richard Muyej Mangez, told the French news agency AFP that negotiations would open “in the next few days,” although he gave no specific start date.
According to AFP, Mangez said the Congolese government would send a “full team”, including leaders of key institutions, civil society leaders and members of the national assembly and senate.
This comes after M23 withdrew from Goma last week and the return of the Congolese army, under the oversight of Uganda and Rwanda.
Uganda’s chief of defence forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, is presently leading military chiefs to assess progress made to implement resolutions of the recently held International Conference on the Great Lakes Region Heads of State meeting.
The M23 leader, Jean Marie Runiga, said he had been contacted by the Ugandan government about the imminent Kampala peace talks, but the group is yet to receive details of the programme.
Runiga said the rebels were “ready” for talks, which are expected to include demands for major political reforms in the country.
He also said the closure of the Uganda-Congo border at Bunagana could affect the travel of the M23 delegation to attend the Kampala talks.
However, efforts to get comments from Ugandan officials were unsuccessful by press time. State ministers Oryem Okello (international affairs) and Asuman Kiyingi (regional affairs) did not answer their phones