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Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 18:08 GMT
EU pursues DR Congo peace
DR Congo President Joseph Kabila (in black)
Kabila's Government torpedoed recent peace talks
A European Union delegation has held talks in Angola with President Eduardo dos Santos as part of its efforts to promote a peace settlement in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The delegation now goes on to Zimbabwe.

The Belgian-led mission is visiting all the countries involved in the three-year war in an attempt to revive the peace process which stalled after the government walked out of talks with rebel factions in October.

BBC correspondent in Luanda Justin Pearce says that, as the Congolese Government's most significant military ally, Angola, will be a crucial player in any settlement.

He says the situation in Congo also has profound consequences for Angola's own security.

The EU mission is also due to visit Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.

Talks

While in Kinshasa, the delegation head, Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel, said talks between rival forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo were set to resume in January.

Belgium Foreign Minister Louis Michel
The EU are being asked to bankroll future talks

Peace talks between the warring factions and political parties stalled in the Ethiopia last month when the government side walked out.

Mr Michel said President Joseph Kabila had indicated that he was willing to restart serious talks - and that concrete proposals would be brought to the table in January.

South Africa had offered to host the talks in January but only if the EU were prepared to put up more money.

The October talks - known as the inter-Congolese dialogue - broke down partly because of this lack of funds.

Under the presidency of the Belgian Government, the EU has been a major sponsor of the process to find a lasting settlement for its old colony.

All sides in the conflict are still digesting the findings of a UN report released on Monday which argues that the war in Congo is driven by the systematic exploitation of the country's resources.

The Congolese Government and its main ally, Zimbabwe, have been accused, along with the main rebel backers, Uganda and Rwanda, of prolonging the war to make maximum profit.

President Kabila is yet to comment on this.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Justin Pearce reports from Luanda
"Angola will have to be a crucial player in any eventual peaceful settlement"
See also:

20 Nov 01 | Africa
DR Congo 'looters' condemned
01 Aug 01 | Africa
Congo's coltan rush
15 Oct 01 | African
Should DR Congo be split up?
30 Sep 01 | Africa
DR Congo ceasefire under threat
16 Apr 01 | Africa
UN alleges DR Congo exploitation
18 Jan 01 | Business
Congo economy 'ravaged' by conflict
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