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Friday, 1 March, 2002, 10:18 GMT
Stalled DR Congo talks to resume
Joseph Kabila with South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad
Factions are now ready to discuss peace
Peace talks between warring factions from the DR Congo seem to be back on track, after rebel representatives said they would return to the negotiating table.

The talks, in the South African resort of Sun City, had been due to start on Tuesday, but were delayed after rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba objected to the inclusion of certain opposition politicians.

DR Congo timeline
1998 - Uganda, Rwanda try to topple Laurent Kabila
1998 - Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia prop up Kabila
1999 - Ceasefire signed but violated repeatedly
2001 - Laurent Kabila assassinated, replaced by his son, Joseph

The aim of the talks is to put an end the DR Congo's long running civil war and set up a transitional government which will oversee elections.

The negotiations are now expected to start by Monday 4 March.


On Monday, South African President Thabo Mbeki had urged the warring factions to set aside their differences.

Joseph Kabila
Bemba: opposition groups are "government stooges"

"We Africans have to show the world our capacity to solve our problems by peaceful means," he said in his opening address at peace talks in South Africa.

A senior official of the EU, which is helping to fund the talks, said there was growing impatience with the Congolese factions and their inability to reach agreement.

Staying put

The BBC's Southern Africa correspondent, Barnaby Phillips, says that even if progress is eventually made in Sun City, it will not bring peace to the Congo.

Angola, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Rwanda are all deeply involved in the Congolese war and none of them shows any immediate inclination to withdraw their troops.

Joseph Kabila with South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad

Foreign troops should have been withdrawn by the time the talks began, but only Namibia has complied and fighting has continued.

An estimated two million people have died as a result of the war, many of them from hunger and disease.

Another two million people have been displaced.

See also:

13 Jan 02 | Africa
Kabila seeks peace at SADC summit
12 Jan 02 | Africa
Zimbabwe looms over SADC meeting
20 Dec 01 | Africa
Death rate soars in DR Congo
12 Aug 01 | Africa
Packed agenda for SADC leaders
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