Congo's Kabila and Rwanda's Kagame prepared to talk

3rd November 2008, Comments 0 comments

The presidents would talk under the aegis of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

3 November

If UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hosts an international regarding the conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the presidents of Congo and Rwanda, Joseph Kabila and Paul Kagame, have said they would be prepared to talk with each other regarding a solution to the violence in east Congo.

Diplomatic pressure on Rwanda is mounting to end support of rebel leader Laurent Nkunda. Rwanda stands accused of lending support to the rebels fighting the Congolese army in East Congo.

EU Commissioner Louis Michel (former Belgian Foreign Minister) has asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to quickly call an international conference to discuss the conflict in DRC. Both President Kabila and President Kagame have agreed to attend such a conference.

"I have suggested inviting Kabila and Kagame, and also their Ugandan and Burundian colleagues," says Louis Michel. African leaders, together with the European Union would discuss the Nairobi accord of 2007 and whether it is being honoured. The accord contains agreements between the Rwandan Hutu rebels in east Congo and ways of stopping the violence in the region.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who is African Union chairman,  also backs a regional summit on the conflict.

The European Union's security committee decided Friday against a possible deployment to Congo. EU officials say the 27-member bloc will instead focus attention on diplomatic and political means to end the conflict.

European nations are sharply divided over whether to send troops to Congo to support overstretched U.N. peacekeepers. France and Belgium, Congo's former colonial master, have both said they favour EU intervention; Germany and Britain have expressed reluctance.

Louis Michel says, "We must choose for a diplomatic solution because there is no military option. The international community must determine which means we have available."

"The situation in Congo is worsening and raises concern", Belgian PM Yves Leterme said earlier this week. Belgium wants to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in east Congo

Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht travels to the region

Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht is expected to travel to the area today. He has received a mandate to hold talks with Rwandan President Paul Kagame: "I will try to convince him to use all his influence to calm the situation in eastern Congo and to opt for a diplomatic way out. I am convinced that he is one of the few persons in a position to stop Nkunda's militia attacks," said Mr De Gucht.

Belgium makes preparations to evacuate Belgian nationals

At the border with Rwanda, Belgium has made the necessary preparations to evacuate any Belgians living in the war-stricken area. Belgium will also ask the United Nations to extend the powers of the MONUC-peacekeeping force.

( 2008)

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