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The BBC's Stephanie Wolters
"Kabila needs to demonstrate that he's on the right path"
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Senior UN official Charles Petrie
"The war in the Congo has several different dimensions"
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Tuesday, 13 February, 2001, 18:47 GMT
Mandela upbeat over DR Congo peace
Nelson Mandela
Mandela had a productive meeting with Kabila
Nelson Mandela is enthusiastic about the prospects for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo following a meeting with its new President, Joseph Kabila.

The former South African president arrived in Kinshasa on Tuesday morning to discuss the situation in the Congo as well as the Burundian peace process.

Mr Mandela is trying to broker a peace in Burundi, and progress there is affected by the situation in DR Congo.

Relations between South Africa and DR Congo have been frosty as a result of South Africa's reluctance to offer military support to Kinshasa to help fight the rebels.

Optimistic

Speaking after the 45-minute meeting Mr Mandela said: "President Mbeki has given me a very positive impression of his meetings with President Kabila... and I have a very favourable impression of the direction he is taking."

President Jospeh Kabila
President Kabila has been on a peace offensive
In particular, Mr Mandela said President Kabila had agreed that the progress of the Lusaka peace process - aimed at finding a solution to the war in DR Congo - was obstructed by the stance of the late President Laurent Kabila.

President Kabila also understood that the inter-Congolese dialogue between the government and its armed and unarmed opposition was an immediate priority.

Mr Mandela also underlined that DR Congo plays an important role in the Great Lakes region, and so he has invited Mr Kabila to attend Burundian peace talks in Arusha later this month.

Complex diplomacy

The DRC and Burundi have become involved in one another's conflicts.

For his part Mr Kabila told journalists that he would attend the Arusha meeting in the hopes that he could persuade Burundian government troops to leave Congolese territory.

Neither Mr Mandela nor Mr Kabila mentioned whether, if such a demand were met, the Congolese Government would reciprocate by discontinuing its support for the FDD.

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See also:

02 Feb 01 | Africa
Kabila's whirlwind tour
30 Sep 00 | Africa
Mandela plea to Burundi rebels
26 Jan 01 | Africa
Kabila promises peace efforts
22 Jan 01 | Africa
Massacres in eastern Congo
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