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The BBC's Andrew Harding
"America has been criticised for not helping enough"
 real 56k

Sunday, 27 May, 2001, 17:38 GMT 18:38 UK
Powell urges DR Congo reconciliation
Colin Powell at Aids support organisation
Colin Powell also visited an Aids support organisation
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has called on the Ugandan president to comply with peace accords in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Speaking after talks in Kampala, Mr Powell said he and President Yoweri Museveni had discussed the importance of the accords in ending the fighting, and the withdrawal of foreign forces.

Yoweri Museveni
Museveni promised a troop withdrawal within three weeks
Uganda supports one of the DRC's rebel groups, which have been fighting to oust the government in Kinshasa since 1998.

Mr Museveni said Uganda would begin withdrawing its troops from north-western Congo in the next three weeks but would leave several battalions in Buta and Bunia provinces and in mountains on the two countries' border.

The United Nations has accused Uganda of taking advantage of its military presence to plunder the DRC.

Aids support

But Mr Powell said the US would not penalise Kampala on the basis of the UN report.

"The loss of two million lives is regrettable," he said. "But rather than point blame at particular countries right now, it's important that we work hard to bring peace... and have all armies withdrawn," he said.

Mr Powell - who is on the latest leg of a tour of Africa - also visited an Aids support organisation.

The country's education programme has lowered infection rates in a country that was once among the worst-affected in the world.

More than 800,000 Ugandans have Aids and an estimated two million more are HIV positive. But due to openness and an ambitious programme, the HIV infection rate has been reduced dramatically.

Famine aid

Earlier, the secretary of state pledged 40,000 tonnes of emergency food supplies to Sudan to help prevent a famine.

He made the announcement in Nairobi after meeting representatives of aid agencies working in Sudan.

The secretary of state has also visited Mali and South Africa during his tour, his third overseas trip since taking office in the new US administration early this year.

In Johannesburg, he outlined a policy of continued engagement with Africa.

While praising many African leaders, Mr Powell issued unusually direct criticism of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, a neighbour of South Africa.

And, in Kenya, he urged the government to reform the economy and stamp out corruption.

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See also:

26 May 01 | Africa
Powell presses Kenya on reforms
25 May 01 | Africa
Powell addresses SA Aids issue
23 May 01 | Africa
Powell focuses on Africa
22 May 01 | Africa
Powell trip to focus on Aids
25 May 01 | Africa
Powell condemns President Mugabe
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