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IRIN-CEA Update 799 for the Great Lakes (Thursday 11 November 1999)
DRC: UN teams go to the field DRC: MLC to check crime DRC: Archbishop of Kinshasa appeals for peace DRC: Angolans allowed to leave Kisangani DRC: Rebels accuse Kabila of recruiting "negative elements" BURUNDI: UN official has "better understanding" RWANDA: Defence cuts in new budget RWANDA: Rwanda declines to meet ICTR prosecutor RWANDA: ICTR prosecutor briefs Security Council RWANDA: Registrar concerned over Rwanda's decision UGANDA: Museveni concludes trip to Libya
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN teams go to the field
UN technical survey teams left Kinshasa for the field on Thursday, after agreement on their deployment was reached Wednesday during a meeting between UN Special Envoy for the DRC Moustapha Niasse and DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila. A spokeswoman for the UN observer mission MONUC, Diane Bailey, told IRIN the teams had left for the rebel-held areas of Gbadolite, Goma, Kisangani and Bukavu, and the government-held area of Kananga. In total, 13 sites are to be visited. The technical survey teams will assess the various areas logistically for the eventual deployment of UN military liaison officers, whose job will include monitoring ceasefire violations.
Regional analysts attribute the apparent breakthrough to Niasse's visit to the DRC. His visit has been described as very successful, and one analyst told IRIN the international "political presence" had been missing. The visit served to "break the ice" and reassured the government of a collaboration and that it had "something to work with". The UN personnel had been grounded in Kinshasa for weeks, with the government refusing to provide flight clearances.
DRC: MLC to check crime
The rebel Mouvement de liberation du Congo (MLC) of Jean-Pierre Bemba has taken moves to address the rampant crime rate in the Gbadolite area. In a briefing, sent to IRIN on Thursday, the MLC said the county court would start functioning again. "Since 1996, killers, robbers, rapists and others have not gone on trial in Gbadolite," the MLC said. "The crime rate had reached very serious proportions."
DRC: Archbishop of Kinshasa appeals for peace
The Archbishop of Kinshasa, Cardinal Frederic Etsou, has launched an appeal for "peace, pardon and reconciliation" in the DRC. The appeal, received by IRIN on Thursday, said the history of the Congolese people had been marked by various problems which had affected their progress and wellbeing. The archbishop said he would present a signed petition to Pope John-Paul II and various international organisations calling for an end to the war, for national pardon, national reconciliation, the withdrawal of "aggressive forces", an immediate ceasefire and cancellation of debts owed by poor countries.
DRC: Angolans allowed to leave Kisangani
The rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) this week authorised the repatriation of six Angolans to their country, rebel-controlled Goma radio reported on Wednesday. They were among a group of 16 Angolans living in Kisangani. The radio quoted the chairman of the Angolan group as regretting the fact that many people believed the Angolans were connected to DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila. The RCD second vice-president Moise Nyarugabo, who met the Angolans, said Angola was Kabila's first ally to be "disappointed" by the DRC leader's behaviour. He believed the RCD's relations with Angola would be restored to "previous levels", and said the current repatriation of Angolan nationals was within the framework of "peace, friendship and fraternity". He urged Angola to avoid responsibility for "any resumption of the war", adding that Kabila is "an accident in the course of history". Nyarugabo also called on Angola to repatriate Congolese nationals who wished to return.
Nyarugabo meanwhile has denied that rebel Angolan UNITA forces are fighting alongside the RCD. "How can UNITA troops move from Angola to Kalemie or Moba?" he said in an interview with the BBC Kinyarwanda service. "Where would they pass? The border between Congo and Angola is guarded by Kabila's soldiers."
DRC: Rebels accuse Kabila of recruiting "negative elements"
Meanwhile, RCD president Emile Ilunga accused Kabila of recruiting "negative elements" into his army, despite the provision in the Lusaka peace accord that they be disarmed. In a recent interview with Gabonese radio, Ilunga stressed peace and security in the Great Lakes region was impossible as long as those forces remained in the country. Expressing support for an inter-Congolese dialogue, he also called for an international conference on the Great Lakes region. On the recent RCD reshuffle, Ilunga said it was aimed at ensuring unity.
BURUNDI: UN official has "better understanding"
Following his recent visit to Burundi, the UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast has said he has a better understanding of the situation in the country. According to an official Burundi statement, sent to IRIN on Thursday, Prendergast held talks with President Pierre Buyoya on the Burundi peace process. They agreed that a new facilitator, "with proven professionalism and neutrality", should be found to replace the late Julius Nyerere.
RWANDA: Defence cuts in new budget
Finance Minister Donald Kaberuka on Wednesday presented his draft budget to parliament for the year 2000, Rwandan radio reported. The budget - totalling 169 billion Rwandan francs - provides for a 62 million franc reduction in defence spending. The minister said that in order to implement the budget, the number of ministries will have to be reduced and foreign embassies will be cut by half. With the cut in defence spending, the national assembly proposed that security be maintained by "voluntary contributions" from Rwandans according to their means, Rwandan media sources reported.
RWANDA: Rwanda declines to meet ICTR prosecutor
Rwandan officials have said they will not meet the new chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Carla del Ponte, who announced her intention to visit the country this month. Associated Press quoted Justice Minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo as saying the country was not ready to welcome her because of the ICTR's decision to free genocide suspect, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza. In a letter to the tribunal, Mucyo reportedly said the prosecutor would not be welcome unless the tribunal reversed its decision.
RWANDA: ICTR prosecutor briefs Security Council
Carla del Ponte on Wednesday briefed the Security Council on the work of the two tribunals for Rwanda and former Yugoslavia, stressing the Council must step in when states do not comply with their duty to cooperate with the tribunals. She acknowledged that relations with the Rwandan government might have been affected by the decision to release Barayagwiza.
RWANDA: Registrar concerned over Rwanda's decision
The ICTR registrar Agwu Ukiwe Okali, meanwhile, expressed "extreme concern" over Rwanda's decision to suspend cooperation with the tribunal, the Hirondelle news agency said. In a press release on Tuesday, he said he had contacted the Rwandan authorities with a view to seeking ways to re-establish the former "cordial and cooperative" relationship between the government and the tribunal.
UGANDA: Museveni concludes trip to Libya
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday left Libya after a one-day visit in which he reviewed the situation in Africa and the necessary steps to bring about security and stability in the continent, Libyan news organisations reported. He met his Libyan counterpart Muammar Gaddafi and discussed practical steps needed to carry out the Sirte peace agreement for the DRC of 9 September 1999.
Nairobi, 11 November 1999, 15:15 gmt
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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999
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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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