By Raymond Baguma
The Uganda Government has said that the UN Security Council sanctions against the M23 rebels will not affect the ongoing negotiations in Kampala, between the rebels and the DR Congo government.
The UN Security Council on Monday announced an arms embargo against the Congolese M23 rebels as well as the Rwandan dissident rebel force FDLR, operating in the restive eastern DR Congo.
The Security Council committee tasked with monitoring sanctions on DRC on Monday also imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on M23 rebel officials Jean-Marie Runiga and Lt. Col. Eric Badege.
But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs permanent secretary, Ambassador James Mugume Wednesday was confident that the negotiations would go one because they have been welcomed by the Security Council itself.
Runiga is a key figure in the M23 rebel group’s hierarchy and is a central in the ongoing dialogue in Kampala mediated by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). Uganda is currently holding the chairmanship of the rotational presidency.
Runiga was also expected to travel to Kampala to bolster the M23 rebel delegation in the dialogue with the Congolese Government of President Joseph Kabila. However, the travel ban could mean that Runiga will not come to Kampala.
But Mugume said, “It will be sorted out. If (Security) Council wants the negotiations, it means that they will have to accommodate the parties.”
The dialogue is set to resume this Friday at Speke Resort Munyonyo after a Christmas break, under the facilitation of the minister of the defence Dr. Crispus Kiyonga.
Today (Thursday), the M23 leaders will address journalists from their Congolese base in Bunagana, on the border with Uganda and are expected to react to the UN Security Council decision.
On 30 November last year, the Security Council also imposed travel bans and assets freezes against three M23 military leaders who include Sultani Makenga, Baudoin Ngaruye and Innocent Kaina.