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Crisis Diplomacy: Explore a recent or historical international crisis and the role of diplomacy in its attempted resolution, whether successful or otherwise.

by on December 21, 2012

There are different meanings to define the notion of crisis. The concept of crisis often appears or used in international relations. However, there are other area (political science, economics, public administration, government just to mention a few) that experience this situation that is described as disorder/unstable. More recently, there has been conflict a current international crisis in the eastern part of Congo (DRC) specifically in the city of Goma in the North Kivu. As it is known, natural resources have been the center main cause of numerous conflicts globally. Thus, the violent conflict that currently erupted in RDC is not different (rich Masisi territory). The turmoil registered occurrences of humanitarian crisis there are approximately “800,000 people displaced in the province” spread from the North to the South part of Kivu (digitaljournal.com).

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In January 2008 an agreement was sign known, as the “Goma Peace Accord”. This was primarily an accord that excluded the Hutu armed forces present in the region which have posed uncertainty over peace in the particular region. Only two parties participated in the agreement. The current government (Joseph Kabila) and a general (turned rebel) head of the National Congress for the Defence of the Congolese People also known as the CNDP. The accord was significant and had zero had not effect. By October that same year, people in that region suffered rape, looting and mass killing, and were forced to flee Goma city forming displacement and seeking refuge in the neighboring provinces. This is because the government army FARDC (Force Armees de la Republique Democratic du Congo) in charge of the protection and surveillance within that area deserted due to the continuous attack from the M23 rebel (which is formed by a Tutsi rebel movement and the former CNDP fighters) group, leaving civilians at risk (geneva-academy.ch).

rebelsThe rebels group successfully and forcefully expelled the FARDC. This is because of the frustration brought after their various unsuccessful attempts to take total control over the area, also because the border between RDC and Uganda were now closed and as well as the UN Security Council report over their main leader being placed in the UN sanctions list. After three days of continuous fight (starting from the 18 November 2012), the M23 tried to impose new negotiations with the government of President Joseph Kabila. This time with a long list of requests that includes: bringing in “the unarmed Congolese political opposition”. According to the UN mission (MONUSCO) in RDC and the Congolese Government, Rwanda and Uganda have been backing and supplying the M23 rebels. These allegations were denied by both governments. And in the early 2009, to confirm its standing position, Rwanda government sent its troops to participate in operations that lead to the arrest of the main Hutu leader in August 2009. The UN diligence in support the Congolese government was to fire at rebels that blocked access to the city of Goma and its main airport by helicopters (http://aje.me/TRNw91)

The major problem in that region is its potential wealth. However, Goma’s population and it worries/human basic needs have been ignored by the government. Thus, to solve their everyday problems they decided to act and get profits from what the nature has blessed them with. Additionally a group of (rebel) soldiers from the government formed and called themselves M23. The lack of competence from the Congolese government led the rebels take over some of the small cities in that country. This was a threat that almost cost president Kabila’s power. The city of Goma had always hosted action in which various groups, profiting from the existing disorder (no control) to enhance their practice of illegal diamonds operated.

The role of diplomacy in its attempted resolution involves UN, represented by UNESCO and other international community such as SADC (Southern African development community). The neighboring states have been clearly feeling the effects of the crisis. Consequently, they have joined forces and are playing a leading role to find solution.

The Congolese government and the leaders of rebel movements are in dialogue, with one party (M23) claiming a contribution from the revenues extracted from the mines of North Kivu, so that the struggle affecting the population can be found remedy.

A conflict can only have the desired solutions or possible positive effects if dialogue involves the two disputant and in this case, also neighboring countries that can feel the shadow of the crisis. States such as: Angola, Congo Brazzaville, Tanzania and South Sudan must have an active voice. The DRC and Rwanda must find collective mechanisms and avoid continuous disagreement/accusation and concentrate on the core of the problem to achieve satisfactory transformations. There is a need to impose order and control along the borders. Moreover, in the aftermath of yet another crisis Kabila government has shown its acceptance for the dialogue. It is also important that SADC re-enforce its interest as the region has now trigger a migratory movement that can affect them.

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The exodus will grow in number if violence is continuous. Thus, neighboring countries will face a massive financial weight.The UN has reported that the government of the United State (US) has to “withhold $200,000 (£130,000) of military aid to Rwanda, and other countries followed suit, including the UK which suspended £16m of aid” (guardian.co.uk)

 

 

 

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References:

Geneva Academy of international humanitarian law and human rights (December 2012), ‘Democratic Republic of Congo ‘, [online], Available from:  http://www.genevaacademy.ch/RULAC/current_conflict.php?id_state=178               Accessed: 19/12/2012

Al Jazeera, ‘Government forces and Congolese soldiers have been retreating as M23 advances on city of Goma’, [online], Available from: “http://aje.me/TRNw91”>http://aje.me/TRNw91   Accessed on the 19/12/2012

The Guardian, “Paul Kagame opponents press for charges over DRC conflict”, [online], Available from: “http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/13/paul-kagame-opponents-charges-drc   Accessed on the 19/12/2012

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One Comment
  1. christianatham permalink

    Crisis Diplomacy:
    “Goma has changed”. According to an article written by Laura Seay entitled a view from Goma. She reports the city that was under frequently rumours of impending invasion by armed groups is at peace as a result of the Goma Peace Accord. Of course there are still daily problems facing the citizens like inflation runs rampant, poor infrastructure and petty crime which is a major problem. But it seems that after more than a decade of suffering the effects of war, Goma is finally on an upward trajectory. (http://www.warscapes.com/opinion/view-goma)
    I agree that diplomacy played a major role in an attempt to end the conflict. Talks involving the government and more than 20 rebel groups lasted over than two weeks. This talks and negotiation was sponsored by the United States, the European Union and the African Union. The breakthrough came after a flurry of last-minute face-to-face contacts and telephone calls involving government ministers, the rebels and international diplomats. The deal, described as historic by one observer, includes an immediate ceasefire and the deployment of UN peacekeepers in 13 key locations.
    The Goma Peace Accord was signed after long negotiations between Dissident rebel Gen Laurent Nkunda and pro-government Mai Mai militia in 2008.It aims was to end months of bloody conflict in the east which had left to the horrific suffering of hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children.

    References
    1.http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/Africa/7204898.stm
    2. http://www.congoplanet.com/article.jsp?id=45261194
    3. http://www.warscapes.com/opinion/view-goma

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