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Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Q & A: Joseph Kabila on peace
President Joseph Kabila
Joseph Kabila is optimistic that peace can be achieved
With the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda set to sign a peace deal in South Africa on Tuesday, the Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has spoken to the BBC about the prospects for peace with Rwanda.

There have been many peace deals in the past but none have yet been fully implemented, if the latest deal is signed, will it work?

I know that there are agreements that we signed that are in the process of being implemented, so what I can say is that I'm very optimistic, but I will always leave room for pessimism.

I believe that the whole process depends on the good will of Rwanda on one part, and the Congo on the other.

I can assure you of the good will of the people of the Congo, the government of the Congo, and myself, in implementing any agreement that will be signed.

And do you now trust the Rwandan Government?

Well trust is a heavy word to use when you are talking of nations that have been at war for the last four years.

But trust which has been eroded can always be renewed - how long it will take, time will tell, but nothing is impossible.

I believe that if we all are aware that peace is what the people of the region need, that peace is what people of Rwanda need, what people of the Congo especially need, then trust can easily be renewed.

If Rwanda pull its troops out, what is going to happen to the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD)?

I am not in a position to speak on behalf of the RCD, but they should identify themselves first of all.

Are they on this side of the border or are they on the other side of the border?

If they are on this side of the border, which is the Congo, then they should identify themselves with the problems of the people of the Congo.


The government have been very open minded and will always continue to be open minded to find a peaceful solution

President Joseph Kabila
What is it that the people of the Congo need today? What is it that they want from any political leaders from the Congo?

I believe that the reply to that question is peace, reconciliation and, of course, the reunification of their country. The RCD must go towards that path.

Moving away from that path will put them in contradiction with the people of the Congo, and in contradiction with the government of the Congo.

As of today, and for 18 months, the government have been very open minded and will always continue to be open minded to find a peaceful solution.

We extended our hand in as far that endeavour is concerned we expect the other side to reach out for that extended hand.

Can you see a day where Joseph Kabila is President, Jean-Pierre Bemba the Prime Minister, Bizima Karaha Minister of Defence and Adolphe Onusumba, the Minister of Health?

Well there are lots of strange things that happen in the world, I'm not sure if that will be one of the strange happenings.

The objectives that we have as governments, is not necessarily to have a Mr A, B, C or X in whatever position, our objectives are very simple, and I believe very noble, that is to reunify the country, to reconcile the people of the Congo, and go to elections in a timeframe that will be agreed to by all the parties.

So talking of strange things, if any strange arrangement can take us to those particular objectives, I'll leave the question hanging.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
President Kabila on Network Africa
"Trust is a heavy word to use"

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23 Jul 02 | Africa
22 Jul 02 | Africa
17 Jul 02 | Africa
23 Jul 02 | Africa
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