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Rift Valley Institute

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Congo Rebels Strengthen Hand as Summit Fails to End Conflict

The Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda failed to resolve a border-region dispute at a meeting yesterday, strengthening the position held by rebels whose insurgency has displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians. After Congo accused Rwanda of supporting an ethnic Tutsi- led rebellion in the east of the country, President Joseph Kabila and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame held a three-day summit with five other African leaders in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, which borders both countries. They considered sanctions against the rebels, at least one of whom is wanted for alleged war crimes by the International Criminal Court, and a neutral peacekeeping force as ways to restore stability to the region. Another meeting is planned in four weeks, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told reporters yesterday in Kampala.

“They’ve kicked the can down the road again,” said Jason Stearns, who researches armed groups for the Nairobi-based Rift Valley Institute and has written a book on Congo’s war called Dancing in the Glory of Monsters. “There is a significant risk that the initiative will not lead to any change on the ground and that would allow for the rebels to make advances on the ground to strengthen their negotiating position,” he said in an interview yesterday.

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