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Thursday, 16 August, 2001, 20:56 GMT 21:56 UK
Ugandan president denies plunder
Ugandan  President Yoweri Museveni
Mr Museveni 'wanted to sue Kofi Annan' over UN report
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has again rejected out of hand UN allegations that his troops are in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo for profit.

Appearing before a state inquiry, Mr Museveni said he had no business dealings in the DR Congo and called the UN accusation absurd.

The hearing follows United Nations allegations that Uganda, along with Rwanda and Burundi, was involved in the Congo conflict for economic gain.


They said: How can you sue the UN? But how can the UN damage my name?

President Museveni
The report, which was delivered to the UN Security Council in April, angered Mr Museveni and prompted him to threaten to pull out of the Lusaka peace process aimed at ending the DR Congo's civil war.

Damages

Mr Museveni told the inquiry on Thursday: " I wanted to sue [UN Secretary-General] Kofi Annan for damages. But they said 'How can you sue the UN?' But how can the UN damage my name?"

The brother of Uganda's president was one of those specifically criticised by the UN report and that, the panel said, made the president an accomplice.

Uganda has always said its troops are in the DR Congo to prevent Ugandan rebels who are supported by DR Congo and Sudan from attacking it.

The aommission is lead by a retired British judge, Justice David Porter who said their work was being hampered by a lack of witnesses.

Sworn testimonies


He said of the 20 sworn testimonies received so far none has supported the UN report. He said it was not clear if potential witnesses fear reprisals or lack hard evidence.

President Museveni's appearance at the Ugandan inquiry coincides with the arrival in the Great Lakes region of a new UN team to carry out further investigations on the allegations of looting.

After meetings with UN panel members in the Rwandan capital Kigali, a Rwanda official said they were co-operating fully with the team.

The April report recommended sanctions against Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. All three strenuously denied the claim that they were plundering DR Congo.

Little cooperation

It is understood that the original panel had received little co-operation from DR Congo's allies: Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia. The report did not call for any action against them.

Rebels holding northern DR Congo also dismissed the report as biased and uninformed.

A ceasefire has held in certain regions of DR Congo, and troops from foreign armies are starting to pull back from frontlines, monitored by UN peacekeepers.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC correspondent in Kampala, Anna Borzello
"Several times Museveni could not remember significant details"
See also:

16 Apr 01 | Africa
UN alleges DR Congo exploitation
04 Apr 01 | Africa
Uganda ready to leave DR Congo
23 Feb 01 | Africa
Congo pull-back plan welcomed
26 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Democratic Republic of Congo
26 Jul 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Uganda
23 Jul 01 | Africa
Uganda rebels' letter welcomed
08 May 01 | Africa
Ugandan troops leaving DR Congo
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