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The BBC's Lindsay Marnoch
"There appears to be little belief in the peace process"
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Sunday, 12 December, 1999, 17:04 GMT
DR Congo leaders 'committed' to ceasefire

DRC government soldiers on patrol over Kinshasa

Leaders of the military alliance supporting the government in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in its conflict with rebel forces said on Sunday they were committed to upholding a ceasefire agreement and called for the speedy deployment of UN peacekeepers.

Battle for the heart of Africa
Meeting in the Namibian capital Windhoek, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Angola's Defence Minister, Kundi Paihama, Congolese President Laurent Kabila and host, President Sam Nujoma, said they "noted with concern that while the ceasefire was largely being observed there had been violations."

An end of meeting statement blamed "Rwandan and Ugandan-sponsored RCD and MLC rebel groups" for fighting in the area of Ikela, where about 700 Zimbabwean troops are believed to be surrounded by rebels, and Basankusu in the north of the country.

The four leaders pledged to "scrupulously observe the ceasefire agreement and speed up the peace process in the DRC."

Richard Holbrooke gave a grim assessment of the peace process
They also called on the UN Security Council to "assume its full responsibility in the DRC by authorising an early deployment of the UN peacekeeping forces to expedite the implementation of the ceasefire agreement."

The ceasefire agreement, drawn up in Lusaka in July and August this year, has failed to end fighting in the DRC, with violations of the ceasefire by both sides.

Looking forward to the OAU summit

President Nujoma said the gathered leaders hoped the warring sides in the DRC would agree soon to the appointment of a mediator or facilitator for national dialogue.

On Tuesday, leaders of the Organisation of African Unity are due to meet in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to choose a potential mediator for the peace process.

It is hoped that such a figure, agreed to by both sides, would be able to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire and kick-start a dialogue between the government and rebels.

There may be some difficulties in making the appointment. The government in Kinshasa favours either Father Matteo Zuppi, a respected Italian Roman Catholic priest, or Derlin Zinshou, a former Prime Minister of Benin.

The rebels have rejected the government's choices, preferring Mali's former military ruler Amadou Toumani Toure.

Washington's grim assessment

The meeting in Namibia follows a grim assessment of the peace process by the American ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke, who yesterday met Mr Kabila in Kinshasa.

Mr Holbrooke said although both sides still pledged their support for peace, there was little progress towards it.

He added his voice to those calling for the urgent appointment of a mediator in the conflict.

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See also:
11 Dec 99 |  Africa
Grim prospects for Congo peace
07 Dec 99 |  Africa
Fate of Zimbabwe's troops in balance
03 Dec 99 |  Africa
Congo rebels lose northern town
06 Dec 99 |  Africa
US issues stark DR Congo warning
16 Nov 99 |  Africa
OAU monitors enter DR Congo
08 Jul 99 |  Africa
Congo peace plan: the main points

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