After their holiday break, talks between M23 and the Congolese government restarted in Kampala almost a month ago, on January 14. As argued here before, the two sides came the talks with radically different visions of what should be discussed, with the M23 insisted on discussing matters far beyond the narrow issues of violence in Rutshuru and Masisi. After weeks of negotiations, the two sides finally signed the first part of a deal on Wednesday, an evaluation of the March 23, 2009 agreement.
You can read the evaluation here - it is broken down into parts of the March 23 deal that have been accomplished, partially implemented, and not yet carried out. It's a real smorgasbord, with 21 distinct parts of the agreement that have been poorly or not at all implemented. Some of the issues that the government has not implemented: local community policing, and a mixed ex-CNDP/FARDC police to secure areas for refugee return; the creation of a ministry for local affairs, security, and reconciliation; the release of all political prisoners. The facilitation recommended setting up a commission to investigate the status of political prisoners and whether abuse of ex-CNDP soldiers took place.
However, this part of the deal, while important, is largely window-dressing--for the government, it's the next part of the peace deal, relating to the integration of the M23, that is crucial. It has now proposed to the Ugandan facilitation that it is willing to reintegrate the all M23 soldiers below the rank of major into the national army (they have to be physically fit and Congolese citizens). These soldiers would be taken to training centers and redeployed throughout the country.
Commanders who are wanted under national or international arrests warrants would be arrested. This includes the "Big Five": Bosco Ntaganda, Sultani Makenga, Innocent Zimurinda, Baudouin Ngaruye, and Innocent Kaina. (The last ...[view whole blog post ]