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DRC’s prime minister: ‘Peace within reach’

February 5th, 2013
11:08 AM ET

By Samuel Burke &  Claire Calzonetti, CNN

One of the deadliest countries on earth may be on the cusp of peace its prime minister told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

Nearly four million people have been killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo since war erupted in 1998. A brief lull brought some calm until a rebel group called M23 launched a rebellion in resource-rich Eastern Congo last year and subsequently took over the city of Goma.

“Peace is really now at our reach in the whole of the DRC,” Prime Minister Matata Ponyo Mapon told Amanpour. “If M23 rebels did not have external support to come and destabilize both territories, by now, we would have had peace and security on the whole of the DRC.”

A recent U.N. report accused the DRC's Western-backed neighbor, Rwanda, of supporting the M23 rebel group, although President Paul Kagame denied the accusation in an interview with Amanpour just last week.

“It's a big ‘no’ on the issue of saying that I am accepting this kind of responsibility,” Kagame told Amanpour. “But what I am accepting is that people can work together to find a solution to this problem that affects Rwanda [and] also affects the Congo.”

Prime Minister Ponyo said that the DRC takes the U.N. accusations aimed at Rwanda at face value. “It's not only the DRC that says it, even the United Nations says so,” adding that the alleged interference is an obstacle for achieving peace.

He also emphasized that the DRC President Joseph Kabila cannot restore peace overnight given that war has torn apart the DRC for more than a decade.

Prime Minister Ponyo is currently in the United Staes to pursue further diplomacy at the U.N. and in Washington, D.C.

READ MORE: Rwanda’s President Kagame: ‘We have a problem’

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Nzete ebetelakake

    When Matata Ponyo Mapon took over as a Prime Minister, he promised to end all armed conflict in eastern DRC with 100 days. Obviously that is not the case now. His promise to Christaiane about peace being within reach is unrealistic, and a false promise designed to misled an already weary Congolese population. Matata should instead focus on asking the friends of the Congo such as the United States and France to intervene in ending Kagame's killing spree in the DRC. This is one way that we can achieve peace, and not with empty slogans that Mr. Matata has been known for since since he started his premiership

    February 6, 2013 at 2:24 am | Reply
    • MARTIN'S

      Do not toddler! Wish to end the unrest languishing eastern part of the DRC bode well for any common mortal in his first 100 days! However, the young prime minister has no supernatural power to immediately transform the already mired in its midst by DR Congolese themselves! You will not tell us everything that is happening in the East-DRC is only the work of one Kagame? If this evil dictator is languishing our fellow Rwandans East-DRC because there is complicity of some of our compatriots!

      February 6, 2013 at 5:56 am | Reply
    • MARTIN'S

      ERRATA CORRIGE !

      Do not toddler! Wish to end the unrest languishing eastern part of the DRC bode well for any common mortal in his first 100 days! However, the young prime minister has no supernatural power to immediately transform the already mired in its midst by DR Congolese themselves! You will not tell us everything that is happening in the East-DRC is only the work of one Kagame? If this evil Rwandan dictator is languishing our fellow in East-DRC because there is complicity of some of our compatriots!

      February 6, 2013 at 6:08 am | Reply
    • Mokili Ngonga

      Nzete Ekweyela Kake if you were a potential candidate for presidency, I would never never vote for you; because your vision for the Congo is, the friends of the Congo like US and France have to fight on our behalf. Qouting you: "Matata should instead focus on ASKING the friends of the Congo such as the United States and France to intervene in ending Kagame's killing spree in the DRC. This is one way that we can achieve peace, and not with empty slogans that Mr. Matata has been known for since since he started his premiership". If this is your vision for the congo, big baby congo, crying for rescue to achieve peace, shame on you and your vision. I think, DRC has to build a strong army so that all our 9 neighboring countries will take their distance. Once, I think, india did some missile test, Pakistan did not call upon its friends but did its own test (or vice versa, I forgot which country started the test). This was a way of saying to the other country; don't try, we are also strong. What is your advocacy, let Matata call on our friends so that, they will intervene and we will be in peace. It seems so simplist. Do you know that this so called friends have their own agenda. Do you think America has nothing else to do that intervening in our business? How much we have to pay back for their intervention? A dollar or Euro spent on Congo by, what you think are our friends have to be paid back more that the single dime they have invest on you. This so called friends have the agenda of breaking the congo apart (balkanisation). Become smart and learn that those countries are not our friends, they are just partners with benefit (friends with benefit are not friend, they are partners), and will lean toward their interest not the Congolese interest, if Kagame help them fulfill their plan, they will lean toward him. Even if Matata call on them for intervention, they will not do it. They are not Salvation Army but partners with benefit. Grow up and know that the one who said: "who loves peace prepares for war", was 100% right. You can have a good negociation only if you are in good standing but not when you are lame.

      February 13, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Reply
  2. peceinAfrica

    How about Matata start paying soldiers an acceptable salary regulary and work on forming a professional army. We cannot forever count on external armies to help us against agressor. A strong army is a strong deterrent to agression in a pursuit of lasting peace. When a parlementarian is paid $6000 dollars maybe the congolese govt can afford to pay regularly a soldier at least $100 (their current salary is $40 monthly). We cannot blame Rwanda and Ouganda forever, Mobutu even though he was a dictator, he understood the importance of a strong army as a strategy for peace, DRC is so rich and everyone wants a peace Matata needs to know this and work on a stronger army in DRC.

    February 6, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  3. Sophie

    Traduction
    I think the first minister forgot to say that the problem of RDC is Kagame and Museveni and the best friend of kagame susan rice.the solution is to take Rwanda and incorporate it inside RDC and we need just one thousand soldiers

    February 6, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  4. Balala

    The journalists got it wrong. The DRC is not one of the deadliest countries in the world, but the first Washington and London approved killing field in Central Africa. I hope when Congo will also start following its rebels into Rwanda, the USA and UK will remain as silent.

    February 7, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Reply
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