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Organizers Say DRC Goma Peace Conference on Course

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VOA News - January 15, 2008

Butty interview with Kamerhe audio clip
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In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a representative of renegade general Laurent Nkunda has demanded that President Joseph Kabila's government rid the DRC of Rwanda Hutu rebels known as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda.  Kambasu Ngeze who is head of Nkunda's rebel delegation to the ongoing Conference to bring peace to eastern Congo, said Rwanda Hutu forces are forces of genocide who have made it difficult for Tutsi Congolese refugees to return home.

Vital KamerheVital Kamerhe is Speaker of the National Assembly of the DRC and also one of the organizers of the Goma peace conference.  He told that the conference is on course despite repeated walkouts by Nkunda's delegation.

"It's very find because all communities in North Kivu and South Kivu have a big momentum to talk about all problems with the two communities. I think it's the big moment to find peace and reconciliation to finish all problems in this part of Congo," he said.

The conference has been marked by repeated walkouts or threats of walkout by Nkunda's rebel delegation. The latest threat to walk out came over the weekend following the alleged arrest of Seraphin Mirindi, military spokesman for Nkunda, for his alleged involvement in the 2001 assassination of DRC President Laurent Kabila.

But Kamerhe said it was all a misunderstanding and that everybody is back on track.

"We have a small problem with the delegation. Now it's very find. It's confusion between Seraphin Mirindi and George Mirindi. Now it's very find. Seraphin Mirindi is here at the conference," Kamerhe said.

He said part of the root of the conflict in eastern Congo has to do with Nkunda's objection to the presence of Rwandan Hutus, some of whom are blamed for Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

"I think Laurent Nkunda has some problem about refugees from Rwanda, the Tutsis and another problem is the Interahamwe (the Hutu militias believed to be responsible for Rwanda's genocide). Those problems are in our program. We will discuss with all communities to see how to resolve those problems," he said.

The conference is being attended by members of both the National Assembly of Congo and the provincial assembly of North and South Kivu, and other leaders and civil society.

Kamerhe said the Goma Conference, which can only make nonbinding recommendations, would soon come up with a resolution.

"Tomorrow we will continue to discuss between communities. And after tomorrow we go to discuss in two commissions, one of South Kivu and another for North Kivu. After this stage, we come in plenary to discuss about a resolution. It's a resolution of peace, security, and human rights, and development of the two regions, North and South Kivu," Kamerhe said.


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