KINSHASA Dec 15 Democratic Republic of Congo
President Joseph Kabila said on Saturday he was planning an
initiative aimed at uniting the central African nation, torn by
an eastern rebellion and a furious political opposition.
"National cohesion must not be conditional, it must be open
for all," Kabila said in an address to parliament. "An
initiative will be taken shortly, the details to be decided in
due course. There should not be a Congo for the majority and a
separate one for the opposition."
It was a rare public address by Kabila, who has been
increasingly in the shadows since he was reelected in 2011 polls
widely seen as fraudulent and since mutinous soldiers launched
the M23 rebellion in resource-rich eastern Congo in April.
He gave no details of the initiative, though M23 rebels have
repeatedly demanded that Kabila open negotiations to address
opposition grievances, along with their own. Congo's opposition
has accused Kabila of stealing a 2011 election and of using
security forces to stifle dissent.
Rebel and government representatives are in peace talks in
neighbouring Uganda which began after the rebels withdrew from
the provincial capital of North Kivu in eastern Congo.
Kabila said those talks were aimed at "clarifying the stakes
and establishing the responsibilities", but gave no further
details. United Nations experts and the government in Kinshasa
believe the rebellion is backed by neighbouring Rwanda and
Uganda, claims those countries vehemently deny.
(Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Reporting by Bienvenu Bakumanya;
editing by Jason Webb)