Three African leaders want peace accelerated in DRC

Dar es Salaam- Tanzania (PANA) -- The leaders of DR Congo, Tanzania and Uganda Wednesday called for an accelerated pace in the implementation of the 1999 Lusaka Peace Accord to end the DR Congo crisis.
Presidents Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Joseph Kabila of DR Congo, who held a one-day meeting in Dar es Salaam to discuss Congo's political situation, said removal of foreign troops in Africa's third largest country would pave way for complete peace in the troubled former Belgian colony.
"The three leaders held cordial and frank discussions on DR Congo's conflict and agreed that the peace process would get a boost if all concerned parties stick to the 1999 Lusaka Peace Agreement," a senior official of the Tanzania ministry of foreign affairs and international co-operation told PANA.
"All the leaders had similar views that attainment of peace in DR Congo would be a major breakthrough in the creation of stability in the Great Lakes Region," the official said, pleading for anonymity.
The Dar es Salaam meeting, seen as a good sign in the relaxation of tensions between Kinshasa and Kampala, brought together two adversaries - Presidents Joseph Kabila and Yoweri Museveni - to discuss Congo's plight at a roundtable under host President Mkapa.
The 30-year-old President Kabila, who took over leadership of the vast mineral-rich country from his slain father, Laurent, early January this year, has been at loggerheads with Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, for backing rebels fighting to topple the Kinshasa government.
Museveni and Kagame sent their troop to Congo early August 1998 to prop up the Eastern Congo-based rebels who broke away from the Laurent Kabila regime due to political differences.
They claim that their troops are in Congo to pursue rebels opposed to their regimes.
However, a UN report released last April implicated the two nations for plundering Congo's wealth and said the presence of their armies in that country had economic motives instead of security reasons.
Armies from Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe also support the Kinshasa government to drive away the rebels.
Concerned with the presence of foreign troops in DR Congo and the devastating consequences of the civil, the Dar es Salaam meeting urged the international community to help speed up the peace negotiations under the mediator of former Botswana President Sir Ketumile Masire.
Meanwhile, in an effort to speed up the DR Congo peace process, Museveni is expected to consult Kagame in Kigali next Friday.

04 july 2001 21:24:00

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