France supports peace, stability in Great Lakes Region

Paris- France (PANA) -- The three-day visit of French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine to Rwanda, Uganda, Congo (Brazzaville) and DR Congo beginning 12 August would signal French support for a rapid return to peace, stability and development in the Great Lakes region, foreign affairs spokesman Francois Rivasseau said Friday in Paris.
Vedrine, in discussions with regional leaders, is expected to express French support toward efforts by the international community in the search for peace, stability and development initiated under the Lusaka peace agreement of 10 July 1999, the sources said.
He is expected to reiterate French support toward UN Security Council resolutions (1304) and (1341) which call for the withdrawal of foreign forces from the DR Congo.
In a statement, Rivasseau said Vedrine would likewise evoke French support for the extension of MONUC (UN Mission in DR Congo) mandate in that country under resolution 1355.
"Vedrine will hold talks at the highest level during which he will reaffirm French support for the various components of the (Lusaka) peace process which are closely inter-linked," the statement said.
Vedrine's visit to the Great Lakes region was in close consultation with the Presidency of the European Union currently held by Belgium, which has placed the region among top priorities during this presidency.
The visit would provide Vedrine an opportunity to reflect on the situation in Burundi and reiterate French support toward the ongoing democratic transition process under the Arusha accords led by facilitator Nelson Mandela.
Rivasseau said Vedrine's visit to the Great Lakes region should throw a signal about the important interest France holds toward Africa as further demonstrated by the Genoa Plan for Africa adopted by the G8 countries last July 22, expected to strengthen support for the continent.
Various bilateral issues would also be at the centre of discussions between Vedrine and authorities in the Great Lakes region.

03 august 2001 20:36:00




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