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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 July, 2003, 19:50 GMT 20:50 UK
DR Congo ministers sworn in
DR Congo President Joseph Kabila
The government will be led by Joseph Kabila
The new transitional government in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been swearing in ministers in the capital, Kinshasa.

The ceremony was taking place after the leaders of one of the main rebel groups - RCD-Goma - agreed to attend despite their concerns about security.

The moves are part of the peace process which is planned to culminate in democratic elections in two years' time, the country's first multi-party elections since independence from Belgium in 1960.

All but eight of 34 ministers were being appointed on Tuesday to the government, which will be headed by Joseph Kabila, who took over after the assassination of his father Laurent in January 2001.

Most of DR Congo has been relatively peaceful in recent months, except around the north-eastern town of Bunia, where thousands have been killed in fighting between ethnic militias following a pull-out by Ugandan troops.

More than two million people have died as a result of the conflict, either through disease and hunger or directly in the fighting.

Rebel leaders arrive

Each of the main players in DRC's long and arduous peace process is represented in the new government.

Jean Pierre Bemba, MLC leader
Mr Bemba is one of the four vice presidents in the new government
Two vice-president represent the two main rebel groups, one represents the government and one the political opposition - and each group has seven ministerial portfolios.

The leader of the second largest rebel group in the country (MLC) Jean Pierre Bemba - a vice-president - arrived in Kinshasa, on Tuesday, ahead of the inauguration of the vice-presidents on Thursday.

It was Mr Bemba's first time back in Kinshasa since 1997 when he fled the capital of the then Zaire with other stalwarts of the deposed dictator Mobutu Sese Seko at the approach of rebels led by Laurent Kabila.

Roger Lumbala, the former leader of a small rebel movement allied to the MLC in the northeast of the country also arrived in Kinshasa to take up the post of trade minister.


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