By Drazen Jorgic
African leaders failed on Wednesday to agree on the make-up of a proposed neutral force to tackle the insurgency in eastern Democratic of Congo, diplomats at a regional meeting said.
Fighting between M23 rebels and Congolese government forces has displaced nearly half a million people since April. Regional leaders last month brokered a deal for a "neutral force" to be set up to take on Congo-based rebel groups.
But the heads of state of east and central African nations meeting to discuss the eastern Congo crisis were divided over whether the troops for a mission to Congo would be drawn from regional countries alone, or would be an international force.
Rwanda and Uganda, under pressure from the West to cut all links to the M23 insurgency, want a regional force to tackle the rebels. But Congo has in the past resisted such calls, favouring an expanded role for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo.
All 11 members of the International Conference of Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) signed a final communique in Kampala, pledging to seek "home-grown solutions" to the fighting.
But a diplomat who declined to be identified said the agreement lacked any real solutions about which countries would provide the troops and who would fund them.
"They've just kicked the can down the road," he said.
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni said the heads of state would meet again in four weeks to discuss the findings of defence ministers who were asked to look into the size and make-up of such a force and its logistical requirements.
Ugandan Foreign Minister Henry Okello Oryem told reporters Congo President Joseph Kabila has agreed for troops from regional ICGLR states to tackle the M23 rebels.