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Saturday, 20 April, 2002, 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK
Kinshasa moves to implement pact
South African President Thabo Mbeki, right, and Congolese Minister for Security Mwenze Kongolo
Thabo Mbeki, right, has failed to get all parties to agree
The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo says it plans to implement an alliance signed with several rebel factions, despite the refusal of the biggest of the groups to join the agreement.

The announcement came after the break-up of eight weeks of peace talks at Sun City, in South Africa.

Under the government's plan, President Joseph Kabila will remain in power, while the leader of the Ugandan-backed Congolese Liberation Movement (CLM), Jean-Pierre Bemba, will be prime minister.

It will not bring a reunification of the country, it will not bring peace and it will not lead to the withdrawal of foreign forces or to free elections

Bizima Karaha, RCD delegate
But the Rwandan-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) did not accept the power-sharing plan.

Correspondents say without the agreement of the RCD - which controls about 40% of Congolese territory - there are fears that a four-year-old war in the country will reignite, with changed alliances.

'Back to square one'

The former president of Botswana, Sir Ketumile Masire, who acted as a facilitator for the talks, blamed Kinshasa and the MLC for the failure of the talks.

Mr Masire said the power-sharing deal was done without the knowledge of other participants.

DR Congo President Joseph Kabila
Kabila accepted a plan for a transitional government
He said their deal came just as a final, comprehensive agreement was about to be reached.

Mr Masire said the agreement was a loss to all the participants, and had brought the search for peace in the Congo back to, as he put it, square one.

The talks, sponsored by the South African Government and the European Union, are aimed at working out political, economic and military structures under a transitional government, ahead of elections.

'No more talking'

On Friday, the South African president, Thabo Mbeki, made a last-minute effort to resolve the deadlock in the talks.

The South African Government is reported to have asked the Congolese delegation to leave a small group behind for further talks.

Jean-Pierre Bemba of the MLC
Mr Bemba had in mind a deal of his own with Kinshasa
But as the Congolese delegation headed home on Saturday, the group's head was quoted by Reuters as saying: "There will be no more talking on our side."

"We are going home to implement our own peace deal," Augustin Katumba Mwanke, was quoted as saying.

On Friday, the RCD dismissed the agreement - in which they were offered a minor role - as a joke.

Civil war

"An alliance between Bemba and Kabila will not solve one of the problems of the Congo," said Bizima Karaha of the RCD.

"It will not bring a reunification of the country, it will not bring peace and it will not lead to the withdrawal of foreign forces or to free elections."

Reports say the RCD wanted the delegates to the talks to elect the president, a proposal rejected by Kinshasa.

The aim of the talks was to end a civil war that has divided DR Congo into at least three parts for the past four years.

The civil war began in 1998, with an attempt to topple the government of the late Laurent Kabila.

Neighbouring countries stepped in, with Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe on the government's side and Uganda and Rwanda backing the rebels.

A ceasefire was agreed a year ago, but has repeatedly been broken - most recently in the eastern town of Moliro last month.

The BBC's Mark Dummett
"The dialogue has failed to end the war"
See also:

19 Apr 02 | Africa
DR Congo peace talks in deadlock
16 Mar 02 | Africa
Fighting flares in DR Congo
14 Mar 02 | Africa
Congo peace talks hit by walk-out
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