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On Congo, Rice Tells ICP Solution Should Involve Rebels, Without Conditions

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, October 10 -- With the M23 mutineers entrenched around Rutshuru in Eastern Congo and Congolese President Joseph Kabila refusing to hold talks with them, the UN Security Council met on the topic on Wednesday afternoon.

  Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice, after an hour and twenty minutes of the meeting, is the US thinks President Kabila should speak with M23, or only with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame.

  Rice told Inner City Press, exclusively as it happened, that the solution should be "regional," with the "governments and rebel groups." She added, "I don't think there should be conditions on what it takes to resolve it."

The briefing, sources told Inner City Press, was requested by France, which has a troubling history in Rwanda and the Congo. Nevertheless, French Ambassador Gerard Araud left before Rice, an hour and 50 minutes before he was scheduled to speak at Colombia University -- about Syria.

  On the Kivus, France said only that there should be a dialogue between Kinshasa and Kigala -- with no mention of the rebels of the M23 and the issues they have raised.

   An interested non-Council diplomat told Inner City Press, "They are going for a PRST" or Presidential Statement, since the most recent regional talks about the Congo went so badly.

   There was speculation if this might impact Rwanda's candidacy for a Security Council seat for 2013-14, with the election to be held later this month.

"So far it's still a clean slate," the source observed, wondering if another African country might emerge to challenge Rwanda. To us, this seems unlikely. Watch this site.

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