EU calls on DRC to initiate dialogue with M23 to foster peace in North Kivu

By Esther Muhozi
On 29 February 2024 at 02:22

The European Union (EU) has called on the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to engage in negotiations with the armed group M23 operating in the North Kivu province.

The message, delivered by Josep Borell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who was represented before the legislative assembly by Jutta Urpilainen on February 27, 2024.

Jutta, the EU Commissioner in charge of international partnerships, informed the assembly members that the EU is concerned about the ongoing conflict in North Kivu, the acts of violence occurring there, and the resulting displacement of people.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, the President of the African Union (AU) Commission, had stated on February 21, 2024, that the situation in North Kivu does not require military action but rather political dialogue that is inclusive.

Jutta announced the EU’s support for Faki’s message, saying, "We support the message of the AU Commission President on February 21: no military solution is needed for this issue. Only political dialogue can address the root causes of insecurity and unrest."

The EU Commissioner also highlighted to the assembly members that it is crucial to adhere to the resolutions made in the dialogues held in Luanda, Angola, and Nairobi, Kenya, adding that the sovereignty, unity, and independence of the countries in the Great Lakes region should be respected.

She stated, "The EU firmly supports the Luanda and Nairobi dialogues and calls for their prompt resumption. The agreed-upon frameworks must be respected, and the monitoring mechanisms should be reactivated."

This message from Borell was conveyed to the EU Parliament while the government of the DRC had excluded M23 from the Nairobi talks that began in April 2022. The government also steadfastly maintained that it could not meet with representatives of this group in Luanda.

As the conflict continues, M23 has repeatedly expressed its desire to engage in talks with the DRC government. The EU Commissioner told the assembly that it is imperative for the group to cease hostilities and lay down its arms.

Jutta is the EU Commissioner in charge of international partnerships.