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Tuesday, 30 April, 2002, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
UN envoys meet DR Congo leader
MLC troops
MLC rebels have struck a deal with Kabila
A United Nations mission is holding closed-door discussions with President Joseph Kabila, in an attempt to revive talks to end the long-running conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The ambassadors, from states represented on the UN Security Council, are in Kinshasa, following visits to South Africa and Zimbabwe on Monday.

We are interested in getting the peace process moving

President Mugabe
The head of the mission, French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte, said their meeting with President Robert Mugabe in Harare had been "very useful", but refused to give more details.

Several thousand soldiers from Zimbabwe are fighting in DR Congo - the UN says it wants all foreign troops to withdraw from the conflict.

African peace efforts were thrown into disarray after Rwanda and the rebels they back rejected a partial settlement reached at talks in South Africa earlier this month.

The ambassadors are also due to visit Angola, Rwanda and Uganda.

All-inclusive deal

"We are interested in getting the peace process moving," President Mugabe told reporters before his talks with the UN delegation on Monday.

"It is necessary that, as we withdraw our troops, both sides do not create room for any act that might cut across the peace process," he said.

The Zimbabwean leader - whose troops are fighting on Mr Kabila's side - also said he was committed to the UN peacekeeping mission in DR Congo.

At the outset of their mission, the envoys met South African President Thabo Mbeki in Pretoria on Monday and said they agreed with him that only an all-inclusive deal would end the conflict.

"We will be exploring that in the days ahead. There is time pressure because the longer you go on, the more entrenched people become in their positions," Britain's envoy Sir Jeremy Greenstock told reporters.

The BBC's Barnaby Phillips, who is travelling with the delegation, said that in public, the diplomats remain optimistic that despite the collapse of the recent Congolese peace talks in South Africa, there is still room for negotiation between all the factions.

War warning

At the talks in South Africa, a deal was signed between the Kinshasa government and Ugandan-backed rebels from the Movement for the Liberation of Congo.

DR Congo President Joseph Kabila
Kabila is hoping to stay on as president

However, the largest rebel group - the Rwandan-backed Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) - condemned the accord and announced its own alliance with civilian opposition parties based in Kinshasa.

Rwanda has warned of renewed war if the RCD is not brought back into the deal between the government and the MLC.

Although a ceasefire agreement was signed in 1999, and there are now UN peacekeeping troops in DR Congo, sporadic fighting has continued.

See also:

29 Apr 02 | Africa
Great Lakes peace mission starts
12 Apr 02 | Africa
Hopes rise for DR Congo peace
11 Apr 02 | Africa
DR Congo peace talks extended
16 Mar 02 | Africa
Fighting flares in DR Congo
14 Mar 02 | Africa
Congo peace talks hit by walk-out
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