The peace talks in Kampala kicked off on December 9th before adjourning for the holidays on December 21st. We will have to wait until January 4th for the resumption--time for reflection. Until now, the talks have been stuck in the preamble as the two sides haggle over procedure.
First, there was the issue of whether M23 military commanders could attend, then the Congolese government refused to sign a formal ceasefire. Most worryingly, the two sides come with radically different ideas of what needs is being negotiated: the Congolese government intends to listen to the M23's grievances and evaluate the March 23, 2009 agreement it signed with the CNDP and other armed groups; the M23 has voiced demands that range from electoral and security sector reform, to freeing Etienne Tshisekedi from house arrest, to knowing the truth about the attacks against Floribert Chebeya and Denis Mukwege.
Luckily for us, the Ugandan facilitation has compiled a list of the various demands, both as outlined by the March 23, 2009 deal and the twenty-one new demands made by the M23. This synopsis predates the Kampala talks but is useful nonetheless. The facilitator, Defense Minister Crispus Kiyonga (accused by many Congolese to be too close to Mbusa Nyamwisi, a co-ethnic), has boiled these new grievances down to six:
Assassinations of ex-CNDP soldiers, in particular of forty-six troops in Dungu--Kiyonga said he could confirm these allegations and asked for an investigation;[view whole blog post ]