10 regional leaders to meet in Uganda over DR Congo conflict

10 regional leaders to meet in Uganda over DR Congo conflict
# 23 November 2012 22:04 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. At least 10 heads of state from the Great Lakes Region will convene in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Saturday for crisis talks aimed at ending escalating fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a top government official said here on Friday, APA reportsq quoting Xinhua.

Henry Okello Oryem, Uganda's minister of state for international affairs told Xinhua by telephone that the leaders under their regional body, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) will finalize plans for the deployment of a 4, 000 strong man neutral international force in eastern DRC, following the fall of Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu to M23 rebels on Tuesday.

The ICGLR emergency summit comes barely three days after DRC's President Joseph Kabila, Rwanda's Paul Kagame and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday held crisis talks here aimed at ending the conflict that has forced tens of thousands of DRC people to flee to neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.

"It will be a short meeting. It will take about four to five hours. The leaders will sit down to assess the recent developments in eastern DRC and take a decision on how to move forward to reverse the situation," said Oryem.

Uganda as the chair of the ICGLR, a body bringing together 11 member countries, has since July been mediating to help end the fighting.

Museveni, Kabila and Kagame on Wednesday urged the M23 rebels to pull out of Goma, the major city in eastern DRC. The rebels have since rejected the directive.

Fighting in eastern DRC has internally displaced 475,000 people and forced 75,000 others to seek refuge in neighboring Rwanda and Uganda, according to a recent report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Rwanda on Tuesday called for political dialogue between M23 and the DRC government to end the ongoing conflict in the eastern region of the country.