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Brownback Comments on Congo Peace Talks

Calls on all parties to come to the table to end devastating conflict

Contact Brian Hart/Becky Ogilvie, Sam Brownback, United States Senator - Kansas, 202-224-6521

 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 /Standard Newswire/ -- U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today commented on the peace talks taking place in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

"The devastation and anguish the Congolese have seen in recent months--the countless rapes, the pillaging, children forced to take up arms, the displacement--is appalling," Brownback commented.  "This cannot continue."

 

The talks opened on Sunday, January 6th, in the capital of the violence-torn North Kivu province, Goma, bringing together government officials, local leaders and warring factions to seek solutions to a conflict that has displaced more than 400,000 people in the past year.  General Nkunda loyalists (Tutsi rebels) have threatened to withdraw from the peace summit which is aimed at ending fighting in eastern Congo on Thursday, demanding security assurances from the government.

Brownback continued, "The complexity of this ongoing conflict encompasses several factions, but two key issues being the control of valuable minerals and ongoing ethnic differences.  These peace talks come at a critical hour for Congo.  After more than a decade of fighting, more than four million lives lost, this is a critical opportunity to move towards peace and to see this brutality come to an end.

"Congo successfully held its first elections in 40 years in 2006.  That was a positive move for a country that has been weighed down by conflict for more than a decade.  I urge all parties to assist Congo in its move towards peace and to actively take part in these talks."  

Fighting between government forces, General Nkunda loyalists (Tutsi rebels), Mai Mai militias and Rwandan Hutu rebels has continued in eastern Congo despite the official end of a broader 1998-2003 war that killed an estimated 4 million people