KAMPALA, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Peace talks aimed at ending fighting in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are still on course despite infighting within the M23 rebel group, the facilitator of the talks said here on Monday.
Crispus Kiyonga, who is also Uganda's minister of defense, told reporters that although there are now two factions in the M23 rebel ranks, they have both committed themselves to the peace talks.
"Notwithstanding the developments within the M23 ranks, both the government of DRC and the M23 remain committed to the dialogue, " Kiyonga said.
In recent weeks, there has been infighting and division within M23 which has resulted in one faction taking the upper hand, assuming and restructuring the leadership of the rebel movement.
According to Kiyonga, Bertrand Bisimwa has taken over the leadership of M23 from Bishop Jean Marie Runiga.
Kiyonga said the DRC government and M23 have returned to their respective headquarters for consultations and are expected back to the negotiation table within one week.
"I have emphasized to both delegations that it is critical that they move with greater speed and conclude the dialogue. Accordingly, I expect the delegates to return to Kampala before the end of this week so that we resume and conclude the talks as soon as possible," he said.
He said the talks which started in December last year would have been concluded by March 15 as desired by the Congolese government, but the government itself delayed because it had to adjust itself to the peace, security and cooperation framework it had signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Feb. 24.
The framework, among others, establishes a link between regional initiatives and efforts being undertaken at the African Union and the UN in finding a sustainable solution to the crisis in eastern DRC.