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The BBC's Naomi Goldsmith
"The new, young president wasted no time"
 real 56k

Friday, 26 January, 2001, 21:06 GMT
Kabila promises peace efforts
Joseph Kabila: In his father's shadow
Joseph Kabila: In his father's shadow
The Democratic Republic of Congo's new President, Joseph Kabila, has promised to make fresh efforts to bring peace to the country and to hold free and fair elections.

Speaking on Congolese TV from Kinshasa, he demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundian troops from Congolese territory.

And he said he would pursue peace by military, political and diplomatic means.


I guarantee the independence, unity and cohesion of the Congolese people

Joseph Kabila
"The army from which I originate has no vocation to monopolise government, but it has the responsibility to guarantee its stability and ensure the integrity of the national territory," he said, speaking in French.

"Once peace has been regained and territorial integrity restored, I shall devote my activity to preparing free and transparent elections to enable the people to choose by themselves a leader to preside over the destiny of this country.

'Independence'

"Our country is going through one of the most painful crises in its history, but I believe that we, all of us together, will be able to overcome it."

Mr Kabila was speaking just hours after been sworn in as president, succeeding his father who was murdered last week.

Laurent Kabila
Laurent Kabila: Gunned down in his office
During his swearing in ceremony before the Supreme Court in Kinshasa, Mr Kabila swore he would respect the laws of the country and guarantee the independence of the Congolese people.

Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia all have troops stationed in Congo supporting the government.

The swearing in ceremony had been scheduled for Thursday but was postponed to allow more time to complete legal preparations for the succession, for which there is no provision under Congolese law.

Unanimous vote

The government announced a week ago that Joseph Kabila would succeed his father, Laurent, although it is not clear how much support he has in a country that has suffered years of civil war and instability.

The Congolese parliament cleared the way for Mr Kabila's succession in a unanimous vote on Wednesday.

Our correspondent says the parliamentary vote was probably called in order to try to overcome constitutional and popular objections to Joseph Kabila taking over.

In a second motion passed by the parliament, Laurent Kabila was proclaimed a "national hero".

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See also:

26 Jan 01 | Africa
Joseph Kabila sworn in
22 Jan 01 | Africa
Massacres in eastern Congo
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