Rebels say DR Congo talks likely delayed

Updated 07 December 2012
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Rebels say DR Congo talks likely delayed

KAMPALA: Peace talks between M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kinshasa’s government scheduled to open Friday in the Ugandan capital will likely be delayed due to “logistical” reasons, rebels said.
M23 political leader Jean-Marie Runiga said the delegation had only held left the rebel-held DR Congolese town of Bunagana, a border post with Uganda, at dawn on Friday, and were not expected in Kampala until late in the day.
“My delegation...should be in Kampala later this afternoon or evening,” Runiga said, blaming the delay on a lack of “logistics” for the travel and stressing that the M23 were committed to talks.
While it is still possible talks could kick off later Friday, Runiga suggested there would be a delay of one or two days.
“I am not sure when exactly (talks will start)... possibly Sunday,” he added.
Kinshasa’s delegation is already in Kampala. Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda is leading a team that includes members of the national assembly and senate.
The rebels’ lightning capture of the mining hub of Goma on November 20, eight months after the army mutineers launched an uprising against the government, had sparked fears of a wider war and a major humanitarian crisis.
M23 fighters, largely from the ethnic Tutsi community, pulled out of Goma last weekend. They are expected to present a raft of demands, including major political reform for the war-weary region.
DR Congo’s president Joseph Kabila, who the rebels have said should step down, is expected to attend a meeting Friday in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam.
He will join leaders and officials of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) at a two-day meeting which is expected to focus on the crisis in eastern DR Congo. South African President Jacob Zuma arrived Friday at the talks, Pretoria said in a statement.
The SADC bloc includes nations such as Angola and Zimbabwe, countries that backed Kinshasa during the 1996-2003 Congolese civil wars. It does not include either DR Congo’s eastern neighbors Rwanda or Uganda, who have denied accusations that they are backing the M23 rebels.


Bolton, Mattis meet at Pentagon

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (L) talks with National Security Adviser John Bolton. (Reuters)
Updated 26 April 2018
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Bolton, Mattis meet at Pentagon

  • When Mattis first met Bolton at the Pentagon last month, the defense secretary jokingly said: “I’ve heard that you’re absolutely the devil incarnate and I wanted to meet you.”
  • The two men decided to have “regular” meetings

WASHINGTON: US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with John Bolton, the new national security adviser to President Donald Trump, at the Pentagon on Wednesday, a spokeswoman said.
The breakfast meeting came amid US media reports that Mattis risks being isolated by Trump’s more bellicose coterie of advisers, including Bolton, an Iraq War-era hawk who has advocated for military action in both Iran and North Korea.
Bolton “was here this morning,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said.
The two men decided to have “regular” meetings, she added, noting that CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Trump’s pick to run the State Department, could join them.
When Mattis first met Bolton at the Pentagon last month, the defense secretary jokingly said: “I’ve heard that you’re absolutely the devil incarnate and I wanted to meet you.”
Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general, is one of a dwindling pool of original Trump picks not to have drawn negative attention from his mercurial boss.
According to multiple reports, after a suspected chemical attack in Syria this month, he successfully pushed Trump to only taking limited action in response, while Bolton wanted a larger operation.
Mattis used to meet regularly with Rex Tillerson, who was fired last month from his position as secretary of state.
Pompeo is seen as being more hawkish than Mattis, further raising the possibility of the Pentagon chief’s influence waning.