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Congo's leader in peace talks

by Mulegwa Zihindula

Congolese President Joseph Kabila recently met with his Ugandan counterpart and foe Yoweri Museveni to discuss ways of ending

Congolese President Joseph Kabila recently met with his Ugandan counterpart and foe Yoweri Museveni to discuss ways of ending armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. "Among other things, we discussed the importance of implementing an existing ceasefire agreement," said President Kabila.

According to news organizations, Museveni and Kabila met at the request of Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa. At the meeting, Museveni pledged to withdraw his soldiers from
Congo. Kabila called on the United Nations peacekeeping troops to increase their presence in his country. "We hope that the meeting will contribute to current efforts aimed at bringing an end to the fighting," said a United Methodist teacher in Kinshasa.

Since inheriting the presidency earlier this year, the young Congolese president has been meeting with his foes to talk peace. The war in
Congo pits the Congolese government against multiple rebel factions backed by Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi. Angolan, Namibian, and Zimbabwean troops are fighting alongside Congolese government soldiers.

Thousands of people, including many of the more than one million Congolese United Methodists, have been displaced by the fighting. "This has put a big burden on the church and the country as a whole," says
South Congo Bishop Katembo Kainda. According to a report from the New York-based International Rescue Committee, an estimated 2.5 million people have been killed since the war began.

After eleven months of intense fighting, the belligerents signed the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement. However, despite international pressure, as well as peace initiatives by the
United Methodist Church and other Congolese religious leaders, guns did not fall silent until President Laurent Kabila was assassinated earlier this year. His son Joseph has called for the implementation of the Lusaka agreement, which provides for withdrawal of all foreign forces and an inter-Congolese dialogue to determine the political future of the Democratic Republic of Congo.


See Also...
Topic: Advocacy Communities Conflict Human rights International affairs Peace Refugees War
Geographic Region: Congo DRTanzaniaUganda
Source: GBGM Mission News

arrow icon. View Listing of Missionaries Currently Working in: Congo DR    Tanzania |    Uganda |   

Date posted: Jul 16, 2001