Kampala: President Museveni has advised his DRC counterpart, Felix Tshisekedi to hold talks with M23 rebels to end the crisis in eastern Congo.
On Thursday, Museveni received a special message from Tshisekedi delivered by a delegation led by the DRC Senior Minister of Works Alexis Gisaro Muvunyi, Maj. Gen Ntumba Frank Buamunda, the Congolese Special Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs and Lt. Gen. Rwuibasira Obed Ruyumba, Chief of Staff in charge of Operations.
In the message, President Tshisekedi was seeking guidance from his Ugandan counterpart on how best they can handle the crisis in Congo.
Addressing the Congolese delegation, President Museveni applauded Tshisekedi for sending him a high-level delegation to talk about peace in Congo, and the Great Lakes Region at large which he said is good.
“If you want to fight and win, you must fight a just war,” Museveni said; making references to the wars he has been fighting in the last 50 years in Uganda and in the neighbouring countries.
He consequently advised that the correct way to solve the problem of insecurity in the Congo is to have a cease-fire in place, engage the regional leaders and have a dialogue in place with the M23 people so that you listen to their issues.
Museveni also commended his Congolese counterpart President Felix Tshisekedi for his efforts in wanting to stabilize Congo.
He thanked him for strengthening bilateral cooperation between Uganda and Congo since he
came to the office.
On his part, the head of the delegation and Congolese Senior Minister of Works Alexis Gisaro Muvunyi conveyed regards from President Tshisekedi.
He said that since Tshisekedi took power, he has developed an open political relationship with everyone
in Congo and with neighbours.
Gisaro said that as of now the M23 is occupying Bunagana.
The delegation however stressed that they don’t want arms in the region but they want development.
“We are open to negotiations, we accepted regional forces to come, but they (M23) have to show goodwill,” he said.
The Congolese delegation commended the recent strides made between Uganda and The Democratic Republic of Congo when the two states agreed to have a joint force to flash out ADF, the building of two roads in
Congo and starting of direct flights of Uganda Airlines to Congo.
The meeting was attended by the Ambassador of Congo to Uganda, Jean Pierre Massala.
The situation in Eastern DRC has in the past four or so months has deteriorated after M23 rebels who had gone silent resumed intense fighting.
Blaming the Kinshasa establishment for renegading on provisions of an earlier agreement between the two sides, M23 rebels earlier this year resumed fighting and in the process squared off with government FADRC forces.
The fighting in eastern DRC left thousands of Congolese locals to flee to neighbouring Uganda to seek refuge as many others were killed.
The conflict saw Rwanda involved into when DRC accused the Kigali administration of bankrolling and providing other forms of support to the M23 rebels who later captured several towns including Bunagana which shares the border with Uganda.
Later the East African Community to called for urgent activation of the East African standby force to quell the violence in DRC .
The East African leaders were also briefed in detail by the regional army chiefs about the plan for deployment of a regional standby force in DRC after efforts to have all armed groups in the region cease-fire proved futile.
Last week, Presidents Tshisekedi and Paul Kagame signed an agreement in Angola to cease hostilities against each other but also to ensure the disarmament of the M23 rebels but the latter is yet to be done and the rebel group is still occupying the areas it had captured from the Congolese government.