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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 April, 2003, 21:55 GMT 22:55 UK
DR Congo rebels reach capital
By Mark Dummett
BBC correspondent in Kinshasa

Leaders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's main rebel faction have arrived in the capital Kinshasa for the first time since war broke out more than four years ago.

President Joseph Kabila
President Joseph Kabila is hosting the historic talks
The officials of the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD Goma) are to discuss the implementation of a power-sharing deal with government representatives, political parties and other rebel groups.

In early April, all sides agreed to end the war in DR Congo and hold elections after a transition of two years.

The talks will focus on the setting up of a government to shepherd DR Congo out of war and into democratic elections.

This is the first time that senior officials of the RCD Goma have come to the capital since August 1998 when they and their backers in the Rwandan army tried and failed to capture the city.

Warm welcome

The other rebel factions have already sent representatives and the talks opened a fortnight ago under the chairmanship of President Joseph Kabila.

RCD rebel fighters
Some gave the rebel a rapturous welcome

Azarias Ruberwa, who is leading the rebel delegation, said the arrival marked a declaration of peace. He was hugged by a government minister.

UN peacekeepers are organising the security of the rebel officials who have also been allowed to bring 30 bodyguards to the city.

Their arrival has been greeted as a massive step forward in the peace process and hundreds lined the streets to welcome them.




SEE ALSO:
DR Congo rebels due in capital
22 Apr 03  |  Africa
DR Congo peace deal signed
02 Apr 03  |  Africa
Country profile: Democratic Republic of Congo
26 Apr 03  |  Country profiles


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