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The BBC's Elizabeth Blunt
"There have been no signs of unrest in Kinshasa, and very little fighting over the last two months"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 13 March, 2001, 15:40 GMT
Kabila urges foreign troops to leave
Rwandan soldiers in Pweto
Rwanda and Uganda have pulled back some troops
New Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has called on the UK and Europe to put pressure on Uganda and Rwanda to completely withdraw their forces.

Mr Kabila told the BBC, during a visit to the United Kingdom, that he was determined to bring stability and unity to his divided country.


Death is always with us. One day you have to go

Joseph Kabila
There are an estimated 50,000 foreign troops in DR Congo with Rwanda and Uganda troops backing rebels and Zimbabwean, Angolan and Namibian forces supporting the Kinshasa authorities.

"We believe that Britain - and Europe in general - should, or must, put much more pressure on the forces of Rwanda and Uganda, which are in the Congo illegally," he said.

Appearing composed and self-assured, President Kabila said he was seeking to mobilise international opinion on his country's behalf.

Uganda and Rwanda have pulled back some of their troops from the frontline recently in what they described as a gesture of goodwill towards the peace process.

Assured

He met Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and also briefly met Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Joseph Kabila:
Joseph Kabila: Assured and calm
Mr Cook said after the talks he had emphasised that Britiain strongly supported the 1999 Lusaka peace agreement, which calls on the Congo government to enter talks with rebels and for all foreign forces to withdraw.

It is only his second foreign trip since coming to power after the murder of his father, Laurent Kabila, in January.

He was asked whether he felt he qualified to take on his role as president - one of the world's more daunting jobs.

"Qualified or not, I can't say. It is a job that I was given by the government of the Congo in place at the time. For my country I had to do it ... and I have to do it."

When he was was asked whether he was just a transitional president or in for the long haul, he said: "Time will tell".

Fears and voting

On democracy he said that elections would definitely take place, but could not be held whilst half the country was occupied, whilst a census had not yet been held, and whilst there was no infrastructure in place.

When asked whether he would stand for elections, he again said: "Time will tell".

When asked whether he felt safe and feared assassination, he said he did not fear the assassin.

"Death is always with us. One day you have to go".

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See also:

16 Jan 01 | Africa
DR Congo's troubled history
26 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Democratic Republic of Congo
21 Feb 01 | Africa
UN finds Congo child soldiers
23 Feb 01 | Africa
Congo pull-back plan welcomed
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