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Wednesday, 20 March, 2002, 14:03 GMT
Congo rebels condemned
DR Congo rebels
This was the first major ceasefire violation in a year
The United Nations has demanded that rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo withdraw immediately from the south-eastern town of Moliro, which they seized at the weekend.

In a unanimous vote, the Security Council condemned the Rwandan-backed RCD-Goma faction for its action, saying this was a major violation of the ceasefire.

The RCD, for its part, says it welcomes the resolution and intends to hand over control of Moliro to the UN mission in DR Congo (Monuc).

The resolution was adopted as African countries involved in DR Congo postponed a summit originally scheduled to take place on Friday in Zambia.

Rwanda and Uganda support groups fighting the government of President Joseph Kabila, who in turn is backed by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe in the three-year conflict.

UN observers

The offensive against Moliro was the first major ceasefire violation in a year.

The RCD has offered to leave the town has long as the government promises not to retake it.

The war
Broke out in August 1998
Has involved Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia
Estimated death toll from fighting, famine and disease is 2m
"We don't care to stay there, but we do not want to pull back before Monuc is established in Moliro," said RDC leader Adophe Onusumba.

A number of UN observers arrived in the city on Monday.

The UN also called on Rwanda to exert its influence on the rebels to stop the fighting.

France has accused Rwanda of sending up to 10,000 troops to help the rebels seize Moliro.


The summit of African countries involved in the conflict, initially scheduled for Friday, has been put back to next Wednesday, 27 March.

The Congolese Government says the postponement was requested because President Kabila is due to visit China on Thursday.

Last week, the Kinshasa government pulled out of peace talks in South Africa in protest at the fighting in Moliro.

These talks - which opened officially last month - had involved representatives of the government, rebels and the political opposition.

They aimed to find a political solution to Congo's many years of instability.

Discussions were supposed to centre on a transition government which would oversee elections.

See also:

14 Mar 02 | Africa
Congo peace talks hit by walk-out
13 Jan 02 | Africa
Kabila seeks peace at SADC summit
20 Dec 01 | Africa
Death rate soars in DR Congo
16 Mar 02 | Africa
Fighting flares in DR Congo
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