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WASHINGTON, DC – The existing peace process in eastern Congo must be enhanced to address the economic, political, and security issues that lie at the heart of the escalating conflict, according to a new Enough Project policy brief released today.
The brief argues that, to date, the regionally mediated peace talks in Congo have only focused on short-term security agreements and completely ignored the core drivers of conflict. The peace process must be built on a shared economic and political framework based on a broad inter-Congolese dialogue. If President Kabila does not address these issues through inclusive dialogue, he may not survive politically.
“An enhanced process must directly address the underlying economic, political, and security interests of the ‘3 K’s’—Kinshasa, Kigali, and Kampala—all of whom have profited from the chaos of eastern Congo, to end the cyclical horrors of regional intervention and state predation,” said John Prendergast, co-author of the brief and co-founder of the Enough Project. “To further ensure long-term stability in the region, the critical interests of eastern Congolese civil society must also be incorporated into the peace process.”
The brief calls on the international community to provide incentives, pressures, and lasting support for the peace process as a whole, as well as help with the implementation framework. Getting all parties to agree on these fundamental issues will be a revolutionary step toward peace in the region.
"Uganda has been aiding M23 and is not the right party to mediate the peace process for Congo,” said Sasha Lezhnev, co-author of the brief and Enough Project Senior Policy Analyst. “It is time to shake things up, appoint a serious, high-level mediator, and deal with the actual economic and political reasons why the groups have been fighting. The U.S. should appoint a presidential envoy to work on such a peace process."
The report also recommends that the U.S. and European Union help expand the economic pie for Congo and countries in the region by organizing a summit on responsible, transparent, conflict-free investment in the region. Dealing with the economic roots of war not only removes the main driver of the conflict, but creates the primary catalyst for state reconstruction. Recent economic transparency reforms in the region are starting to offer a new path for the future, whereby resources such as conflict minerals can be part of the engine for peace and development instead of war.
This brief is the second in a three-part series on the process, substance, and leverage necessary to create a path towards a viable peace in eastern Congo and the surrounding region.
Read the first brief in the three-part series: “A Broadened Peace Process in Needed in Congo”
Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a“3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.