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The BBC's Anna Borzello
"In terms of numbers, an immediate pull-out would not make a huge difference"
 real 28k

Sunday, 29 April, 2001, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Museveni 'wants troops out of Congo'
UN peacekeepers in DR Congo
The UN has deployed peacekeepers in DR Congo

By the BBC's Anna Borzello in Kampala

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said he wants Ugandan troops to pull out of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

His troops there are backing rebels fighting to overthrow the Congolese government which is itself supported by troops from Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

President Museveni
Museveni - angered by a recent UN report

President Museveni said he will recommend to parliament, government and the army high command that Uganda withdraw from the Lusaka peace accord, which is the process set up to bring a negotiated end to DR Congo's three-year war.

The president's comments were made in response to a recent United Nations report on the exploitation of natural resources in the DR Congo which accused foreign armies, and in particular Uganda and Rwanda, of massive looting.

First time

It is still not clear when the withdrawal will take place and what impact it will have on the peace process in DR Congo.

This is the first time Mr Museveni has recommended a total pull-out. He has previously said any withdrawal would have to be made in the context of the Lusaka accord, which has a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces.

The UN report on mineral exploitation, which named Mr Museveni's younger brother, has angered the president, who prefers to cast Ugandan intervention in the Congo as a fight against evil.

Recommendation only

In a statement published in the government-owned Sunday Vision newspaper, Mr Museveni says his decision was prompted by indifference to African suffering in the world.

The president's statement is only a recommendation and it is not clear when or even if the pull-out will take effect.

Nor is it clear what impact the decision will have on the future of the Lusaka peace accord, which has only just been revived after a long period of inactivity.

In any case, Mr Museveni said that even if Uganda withdraws, some troops will remain in eastern Congo to protect the border from infiltration by Congolese-based Ugandan rebel groups.

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See also:

28 Feb 01 | Africa
Troops withdraw from DR Congo
26 Mar 01 | Africa
Zimbabwe hosts Kabila
02 Feb 01 | Africa
Kabila's whirlwind tour
16 Jan 01 | Africa
DR Congo's troubled history
26 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Democratic Republic of Congo
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