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DR Congo President Joseph Kabila
"The country has been under occupation for the last three years... condemnation is necessary"
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Wednesday, 7 February, 2001, 11:46 GMT
Kabila praises Kagame talks
Joseph Kabila and Colin Powell
US Secretary of State Colin Powell (right) was impressed by Kabila's commitment
New Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has said that his unprecedented meeting in Washington last week with his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, went well.

In a BBC Swahili service interview after returning home from his first diplomatic mission abroad, Mr Kabila said the encounter set the stage for further meetings with Mr Kagame and regional leaders.

Rwanda is a key supporter of the rebel movement in Congo which now controls large parts of the country.

Commenting on domestic policy, Mr Kabila said he intended to reshuffle his cabinet in due course because he was aware some things were not right, but it was still too early to do so.

Joseph Kabila took office two weeks ago, following the assassination of his father, Laurent.

Rwanda's role

He was introduced to Mr Kagame last Thursday at an annual "national prayer breakfast" in Washington on Thursday, and they met later at a hotel.

The talks were greeted as a step forward in efforts to end the war in DR Congo which has been described as "Africa's world war", drawing in five neighbouring countries.

Rwanda and Uganda are backing the rebels in the east. Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia are supporting the Kinshasa government.

Joseph Kabila's father was widely seen as being an obstacle to the implementation of the peace accords signed in Lusaka in 1999.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame
Kagame: Breakthrough meeting with Kabila
Rwandan troops propelled Laurent to power in 1997, but Rwanda transferred its support to anti-Kabila rebels after the late president failed to deal with the Interahamwe.

Rwanda says that so far there are mixed signals coming from the new regime and it is too early do anything other than adopt a "wait ands see" policy.

Rwanda argues that it needs to control eastern DR Congo because of the presence in the region of the Interahamwe - militia groups linked to the 1994 Rwandan genocide - who Rwanda believes still pose a threat to its security.

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See also:

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