Peace talks with Congolese rebels to restart next week
UN-brokered peace talks between Congolese rebels and the government aimed at cementing a lasting ceasefire have been suspended and will resume on December 17, the UN's special peace envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo has said.
Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo said in statement late Thursday that "steady progress" was being made on agreeing ground rules for later substantive talks, reported dpa.
Tutsi rebel group the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) and DR Congo officials arrived in Kenyan capital Nairobi on Monday for the first direct talks aimed at resolving the conflict.
However, neither CNDP leader Laurent Nkunda nor Congolese President Joseph Kabila attended the meeting.
Obasanjo on Wednesday criticized the rebel delegation for not having any authority to make decisions and being unsure what they wanted from the meeting.
He said he had despatched a delegation to meet Nkunda in the DR Congo to help resolve these issues.
Well over 250,000 civilians have been displaced in the east of the DR Congo since August as a result of renewed clashes, aid agencies say.
Nkunda's men routed government forces and came on the verge of taking Goma, the capital of the eastern North Kivu province.
The general called ceasefire and pulled his troops back from some front lines in mid-November after meeting Obasanjo, but clashes have continued with government forces and pro-government Mai Mai militia.
Nkunda says he is fighting to protect Tutsis from Hutu militia who fled to the DR Congo after Tutsi forces seized power in Rwanda.
The armed Hutu groups were implicated in the 1994 massacres in Rwanda, when 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.