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Wednesday, 6 March, 2002, 10:02 GMT
Stalled DR Congo talks resume
MLC rebels
The rebels have returned to the negotiating table
Peace talks between warring factions from the Democratic Republic of Congo have resumed in South Africa after rival parties resolved a dispute over representation.

The talks had been stalled since their formal opening on February 26, with rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba accusing some opposition representatives of backing the government in Kinshasa.

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

But a compromise deal was reached on Tuesday, when rebels and the government agreed that their delegations would be increased to give them the same representations as opposition parties.

The aim of the so-called inter-Congolese Dialogue - in the South African resort of Sun City - is to end the long-running civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo and set up a transitional government which would oversee elections.

The talks are expected to last 45 days.

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 has shown any immediate inclination to withdraw their troops.

Foreign troops should have been withdrawn by the time the talks began, but only Namibia has complied and fighting has continued.

None of the countries with troops in Congo has been invited to the Sun City talks.

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:

01 Mar 02 | Africa
Stalled DR Congo talks to resume
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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