UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
DRC: Agreement to sign ceasefire reached in Windhoek
JOHANNESBURG, 19 January (IRIN) - Five countries involved in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) conflict have agreed to sign a ceasefire, along with the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD), Namibian President Sam Nujoma announced on Monday.
The announcement follows talks in the Namibian capital Windhoek between the presidents of Rwanda, Uganda, Namibia, Zimbabwe and the Angolan defence minister. According to news reports, Nujoma said the rebels would sign a separate document.
A statement issued by participants after the meeting claimed "significant progress" had been made towards achieving greater mutual understanding. "The Namibian" daily cited a high-ranking Namibian official as saying the agreement was a sign the parties had had enough of the war.
Media sources in Windhoek told IRIN that the rebels had "welcomed the initiative" but they now had to examine the text in detail. The RCD was not invited to the Windhoek meeting.
Further briefings were being held in the Namibian capital Tuesday and it was now a question of "wait and see", the sources said. They pointed out similar agreements had been reached before and had led to nothing. The signing ceremony, if it goes ahead, is expected to take place in Lusaka.
DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila, who met separately in the Angolan capital Luanda on Monday with his Angolan and Congo-Brazzaville counterparts, said he had not been officially informed of the ceasefire agreement. Reporting Kabila's return to Kinshasa, DRC state television commented that the military option "is necessary on the ground because the Congolese people...want their territory to be cleared of invaders".
A statement issued after the Luanda summit noted that the three countries exchanged information about the various conflicts on their territories. They agreed to hold regular meetings "because they realise that armed conflicts in their countries are intertwined". They statement further said that such conflicts were "instigated and backed from abroad".
DRC Foreign Minister Jean-Charles Okoto, meanwhile, told state television his country's absence from the Windhoek meeting was not a deliberate snub. He said partial solutions had already been found to some of the issues at stake, and his delegation was obliged to return to Kinshasa. "This does not mean we were blatantly absent," he stressed.
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 09:59:27 -0300 (GMT+3) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: IRIN English Filtered Service <email@example.com> Subject: DRC: Agreement to sign ceasefire reached in Windhoek 1999.1.19
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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