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The BBC's Ishbel Matheson
"The Summit was supposed to seek ways of ending the two year conflict"
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The BBC's Philip Haworth
"The failure of the Lusaka agreement has brought despair to the people"
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Tuesday, 15 August, 2000, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
Congo peace talks fail
Without UN peacekeepers fighting could escalate
Talks aimed at reviving the peace accord in the Democratic Republic of Congo have ended in failure.

Officials at the meeting of African regional leaders in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, are blaming Congolese President Laurent Kabila.

They say he resisted calls to allow the unhindered deployment of United Nations peace monitors in government areas, and also wanted a new mediator to negotiate between the government and the rebel factions.

Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe support President Kabila against a two-year rebel insurgency supported by Rwanda and Uganda.

DRC President Laurent Kabila
President Kabila: Was urged by leaders to reconsider his stance
Mr Kabila opposes the current mediator, the former Botswana president, Sir Ketumile Masire, who he says is sympathetic to the rebels.

Our correspondent says Mr Kabila is reported to be re-equipping his army and seems to have no interest in peace while he thinks he can hold on to power through war.

"President Kabila has refused to listen or discuss the matter. He says he does not want Sir Ketumile Masire - period," said Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

In a communique issued at the end of the summit in the early hours of Tuesday, regional leaders appealed to President Kabila to reconsider his decision.

They issued a veiled threat of sanctions if he did not do so, but it is thought unlikely to be carried out while he continues to receive backing from three regional countries.

The UN Security Council is due to review its mission in the DR Congo later this month. Correspondents say if the UN operation is suspended there could be a sharp escalation of fighting.

Since the peace agreement was signed in Lusaka one year ago, there have been many violations, leading to a delay in the deployment of UN peacekeeping troops.

UN observers

The UN is yet to send troops into DR Congo, limiting its presence to about 500 military observers.

UN member states have warned that they cannot commit themselves to a large-scale peacekeeping operation when the main protagonists are still at war.

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution demanding that Rwanda and Uganda withdraw all their forces "without delay" and said other countries should reciprocate at each stage of the withdrawal.

Rwandan troops and their Congolese rebel allies say they are prepared to withdraw from strategic positions in the DR Congo, to allow the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers in a "peace corridor".

Uganda separately offered to withdraw 4,000 troops, almost half its forces.

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See also:

09 Aug 00 | Africa
Congo peace corridor proposed
30 Jun 00 | Africa
Timeline: DR Congo conflict
30 Jun 00 | Africa
Congo's unhappy birthday
05 May 00 | Africa
UN failing in Africa
21 Jul 00 | Africa
Kisangani fears more fighting
30 Jul 00 | Africa
UN calls for pressure on Kabila
03 Aug 00 | Africa
New ethnic violence in Congo
11 Aug 00 | Africa
Congo rebels 'sink' gunboats
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