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Tuesday, 22 August, 2000, 13:12 GMT 14:12 UK
Congo war: No way out?

Once again a crucial summit of African leaders on the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has failed in its attempt to revive the peace agreement signed in Lusaka a year ago.

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DRC President Laurent Kabila is reported to have rejected two key proposals for moving the process forward: The appointment of former Botswana President Sir Ketumile Masire as the key mediator in the process and unhindered access by UN troops to all parts of the country.

Two years after the rebellion started, peace continues to elude the DR Congo. What is the way out? Can a solution be found?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

Like Sierra Leone, DRC's problems are fuelled by mineral wealth

Andrew Limo, Kenyan/ UK
Like Sierra Leone, DRC's problems are fuelled by mineral wealth. Kabila was busy signing mining contracts with multi-nationals even before he got to the seat of power. Mining should be stopped until a solution for stable government is found.
Andrew Limo, Kenyan/ UK

The only way out of the Congo-Kinshasa crisis is for both Kabila and the rebel leaders, including their allies, to realise that they have only succeeded in ruining Congo.
Kayode Ishola, Nigeria

The DRC problem is not as simple as people think as there are far too many hidden sides to it. The international community should not sit there waiting to solve problems when they get worse - it should pour water onto the fire before it spreads.
P. Kambale, Congolese in Australia

Britain, France and the United States have a lot at stake. I don't know where Kabila, Kagame and Museveni would find the resources to finance this stupid war, if not from their respective colonial masters, who at the expense of Africans are out to re-colonise the Congo region.
Yohannes, USA

The UN should ban all sales of diamonds from DR Congo for, say, 5 years and within weeks all the non-Congolese parties will leave. It is the business opportunities and money that makes them stay, not the well-being of the Congolese people!
Stein, Norway

The situation in DRC has been exacerbated throughout the last four decades by outside interference

J. Knight, UK
The situation in DRC has been exacerbated throughout the last four decades by outside interference. It is difficult to see it remaining as a unified country until neighbouring nations, which have obvious interests therein and the people themselves, decide upon a single leader and type of government to support. At present the wishes and human rights of the inhabitants are being totally ignored, as, indeed they have been ever since the country became the personal fiefdom of the King of Belgium.
J. Knight, UK

The world has to realise that if the conflict in Central Africa is not resolved, the consequences will not only be human loss but also economic. The world is enjoying an economic stability which could be destroyed if the war in the Congo continues.
Paul Mbala, UK

Yet again, the International Community has shown an astonishing degree of naivety by attempting to negotiate with an African warlord. As long as warfare remains so lucrative for the Kabilas of my continent, there is very little that can be done, except perhaps to do the unthinkable - confiscate all foreign and ill-gotten assets belonging to them and their fellow bandits.
Ubong Effeh, UK, Nigerian

Kabila is crazy and he will end up like his predecessor with the difference that he will die without a single coin in his pocket.
Betty Busingye, Uganda

Get the armies of your favourite African countries, Uganda and Rwanda out of the Congo and you will witness movement towards the resolution of the Congo problem. Notice, I have not asked for the withdrawal of Zimbabwe troops. They should stay in the country for the foreseeable future. They are a stabilising force.
Emmano Lupi, USA/ Kenya

The only way out is for Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola to get out of Congo. Secondly, Kabila must go as we did not elect him as president. Finally, we Congolese should sit around the table, solve our differences and elect a young man or woman who is well educated and civilised to govern our country.
Mpoyi, Congo (Zaire)

A solution to the war in the Congo is in my opinion unrealistic. All five squabbling nations are fighting for one main reason, Congo's bountiful minerals. Not one of these countries will cease this brutal war unless each is promised some stake in Congo's riches. But Laurent Kabila will not be inclined whatsoever to relinquish any of his valued mines or oil fields. So in the end the fighting will continue and each leader of the fighting nations will enrich themselves while the people of the Congo suffer.
Fabrice Martin, New Zealand

The solution is to find a way to unite Africans against Western selfishness!

Nebiyou, Ethiopia/ USA
This is a classic case of Western neo-colonisation. You have the US arming and training Rwandese and Ugandan troops, the several Western multi-nationals who do not want the Congolese to benefit from their own resources, and a few selfish rulers such as Mugabe who have personal business interests in the Congo. The solution is to find a way to unite Africans against Western selfishness!
Nebiyou, Ethiopia/ USA

The people of Congo have shown that they despise the Rwandese and the Ugandan armies. Peace will not come through signatures, it will only come when Rwanda and Uganda leave Congo.
Rukara Ntambara, Rwanda

Of course, there is a way out: Rwanda, Ouganda and Burundi have to leave DRC and the war is over. The Congoleses can then tackle their internal problems while the Hutu and Tutsi can deal with their own in Rwanda, Burundi and Ouganda.
Noel K. Tshiani, Congolese living in the USA

It seems as though Mr Kabila likes to shine on the international stage when attending meetings. However, he has no vision for his country and people.
Jamal, Somalia, now living in US

I can't see any way out of the DRC problem. The key issue there, as in much of Africa, is the lack of capable and dedicated leaders. There are of course, other obstacles such as that of the negative interference of some foreign powers, but that's not as bad as the lack of leadership.
John Buka, Rwanda

Cyprus is still divided 20 years after the UN moved in and set up a peace corridor. I think it's time for Rwanda and Uganda to go home and let the Congolese resolve their problems alone.
Manu F. Manun'Ebo, UK

As I see it, the DRC has to rebuild its political system almost from scratch. And to do this, I think the country needs a strong leader who has the ability to put in place the building blocks for a modern stable political system (e.g. Museveni, Mugabe, etc). I really believe that the leaders of SADC are fully committed to creating a stable DRC so that the region can develop. I fear that if Kabila is not up to the task, the country could fragment. And this would be very bad news for Africa at this point in its history as it could be a catalyst for the fragmentation of many other African countries.
Garth, Zimbabwe

The reality is there is very little the UN can do

Jeffrey Kisukye, Uganda resident in US
Insofar as the international community may be hankering for the presence of an observer force in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the reality is there is very little the UN can do. The political will and the resources are not there. In addition, some observers say the current UN observer force is much smaller than the one that was deployed in Rwanda prior to the 1994 genocide.
Jeffrey Kisukye, Uganda resident in US

The way out of this war is to sanction anything and everybody who are involved in fueling this war. Kabila and the rebels should be forced to see the suffering of the people and realise the need for peace. If the rebels can agree to the peace process, why is Kabila not able to see that the people of Congo need peace and unity?
J. Kalimbo, Namibia

I think the only way to put an immediate end to the conflict is for the international community, with the backing of the major world powers, to take as active a role in the DRC as they have in places such as former Yugoslavia. This, unfortunately, is wishful thinking. DRC just isn't as strategically important as it was during the days of Lumumba, and the leaders are so hell-bent on seizing power, no matter who they have to crush in the process of doing so. A very sad situation indeed.
Randall Collins, USA

Everybody should go home and leave us citizens solve our problems or perish with them.
Lubula, Zaire (Congo)

It is very frustrating for the Congolese people. Without the UN, the Congo is going to have a lot of difficulties rebuilding its economy. Kabila and his allies should soften their stand and give peace a chance. Regardless of your optimism, neither side is going to win in this conflict. But every African, especially Congo's youths are paying a heavy price. Every minute this conflict continues, the DR Congo takes five steps backwards.
Voka, DR Congo in USA

Obviously Mr Kabila needs war in order to stay in power. As long as there is fighting, no elections can be held. It must be remembered that his government does not have the acceptance of the majority of the people. He came to power with the help of Rwandan and Ugandan guns, and only guns can secure that power even now. He has no creative ideas how to save his country from chaos, and it is slowly tearing the country and its people apart. He will keep on fighting until he has gathered enough wealth so that he can run away and spend the rest of his life in luxury.
Jan Kuhanen, Finland

I don't foresee a peaceful settlement in DRC but I am optimistic that Kabila will eventually be thrown out

Denford Madenyika, Zimbabwe
I don't foresee a peaceful settlement in DRC but I am optimistic that Kabila will eventually be thrown out. With Mugabe pouring in Z$1.5 billion a month, Kabila has to do something fast to keep the Zimbabwean soldiers in DRC or else they will head home soon. If Mugabe decides to withdraw his forces, I can predict that it will be the end of Kabila.
Denford Madenyika, Zimbabwe

I think the only way out of the war in the DRC is the total withdrawal of foreign armies, and the first to go must be the uninvited ones, namely the Rwandan and Ugandan armed forces.
Greg Mutombo, USA

Although Kabila may seem to be responsible for the failure of the recent peace talks on Congo, the main cause of the trouble is the weakness of the Congolese state after Mobutu and the greed of the rulers of neighbouring countries. These countries are plundering the rich natural resources of Congo under the guise of safeguarding their national security interests. The real losers in this senseless war are the Congolese people and the families of the foreign soldiers fighting in Congo.
James Mubiru, USA

The United Nations should take action once and for all. They should put sanctions on Zimbabwe and the will to end the war in D.R.Congo.
P. Mnkndla, UK

The war in the DRC cannot and will not stop unless the Super Powers (Clinton and Tony Blair) stop aiding Rwanda and Uganda militarily. Why should Africans kill their fellow brothers and sisters just for fun?
Mamadou Jang Jallow, The Gambia.

Kabila was given the recognition befitting a statesman before little was even known about what he stood for. It has now become clear that he had no agenda beyond his continued occupation of the highest office in the land. He is merely bent on frustrating any efforts aimed at bringing about a change of the status quo. His is an attempt to continue to rule without even holding elections so he can continue to plunder the vast resources of the country with the Mugabes of this world who financed the overthrow of Mobutu. Kabila is the main problem in the Congo and it is time leaders in the region realised this and applied more pressure on him. If Kabila is not ready to change, then it may even be better to threaten his country with expulsion from SADC.
Anthony Musonda, Zambia, now in Germany

This is a very sad day for the people of Congo

Mamadou Diallo, Guinea in USA
This is a very sad day for the people of Congo. The majority of African leaders, such as Kabila, are selfish with a total disdain for what is best for their people. In all wars in Africa, it is the people that suffer and the leaders enjoy their best moments. Even though Kabila has some responsibility for what is going on in the former Zaire, the true culprit is "Mobutu" who planted the seed of hate and created the favourable conditions for the crumbling of this vast country. How many people have to die and how many gallons of blood have to be lost to bring back sanity to all dictators in Africa?
Mamadou Diallo, Guinea in USA

There is a way out of the DRC quagmire but unfortunately the politics of destruction rule the day. A few people, well known and not so well known, are getting extremely wealthy on the back of the misery and destruction of the Congolese state.
Aaron Hale, USA

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See also:

30 Jun 00 | Africa
Congo's unhappy birthday
15 Aug 00 | Africa
Congo peace talks fail
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