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ICG: Congo: Five Priorities for a Peacebuilding Strategy

Author: International Crisis Group
May 11, 2009

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International Crisis Group Africa Report 2009 outlines five priorities for a successful peacebuilding strategy for the eastern Congo including a credible and comprehensive disarmament strategy and a security system reform with a new focus on building capacity and accountability in the Kivus as well as Orientale province.

Excerpt: The deal struck by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda for renewed military and political cooperation is an important step forward, but is not sufficient to bring peace to the Kivus. Their five-week joint military operation did not produce significant results against the Rwandan Hutu rebels. Integration of the former insurgency that came over to the government's side after Laurent Nkunda was dropped as its leader is precarious, despite the 23 March 2009 agreement it signed with Kinshasa. An international monitoring group chaired by UN Special Envoy Olusegun Obasanjo and Great Lakes Envoy Benjamin Mkapa should work with the Congolese and Rwandan governments to support and implement a genuine and comprehensive peacebuilding strategy, while donors should condition their support on adoption and implementation by Kinshasa of a comprehensive package of judicial measures to fight impunity.

Normalisation of relations between Rwanda and Congo is essential if the eastern Congo and the Great Lakes region as a whole are to be stabilised. The agreement under which Rwanda accepted to withdraw its support from the renegade General Nkunda's Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP) insurgency and simultaneously press it to accept integration into the national army, while Kinshasa agreed to a joint military strike on its territory with the Rwandan army against the successors of the 1994 genocidaires, is an attempt to address a problem that has poisoned bilateral relations for fifteen years. There has already been one immediate and welcome result: Nkunda's replacement and subsequent arrest.

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