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UN Backs Uganda Withdrawal From Congo

By Vision Reporter

Added 25th May 2001 03:00 AM

THE United Nations Security Council has hailed Uganda for respecting the Lusaka peace accord by spearheading the withdrawal of its army from the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, reports Alfred Wasike.

THE United Nations Security Council has hailed Uganda for respecting the Lusaka peace accord by spearheading the withdrawal of its army from the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, reports Alfred Wasike. The team stressed that all foreign forces have to withdraw soon to ensure dialogue. The 12-member team of ambassadors was addressing an international press conference after a several-hour closed-door meeting with President Yoweri Museveni at State House, Kampala yesterday. They hailed Uganda for establishing a judicial commission of inquiry into the recent allegations by a U.N. panel that Uganda plundered wealth from the Congo. Museveni announced that the probe chaired by Justice David Porter would start work "straight away." The delegation led by Jean-David Levitte, the French ambassador to the UN, concluded an eight-nation African tour of the Great Lakes region to stop the crisis in the Congo. The team which returned to the UN headquarters in New York last night, also met one of the Congo rebels, Jean-Pierre Bemba, in Kampala. Levitte said Bemba accepted to help in the demilitarisation of Congo. "I want to pay tribute to you for your decision to withdraw most of your troops with limited exceptions in three limited areas of the DRC. "It sets an excellent example to other forces and I stress again that all the foreign forces will have to withdraw according to the Lusaka accord," Levitte said. On the probe, Levitte said, "We pay tribute to the decision of the President to set up this commission. "Again it sets an example which should be followed by other countries in Africa." The team also encouraged African leaders to "discuss their differences directly so that relations don't deteriorate unnecessarily." Museveni said Uganda had made overtures to encourage dialogue with DRC President Joseph Kabila and "met President Paul Kagame in Cairo recently so we shall sort out our differences." On the Security Council guarantees against terrorists attacking Uganda from Congo, the British ambassador to the UN, Jeremy Greenstock, said, "There are two things to say, one is that you cannot expect the UN to take on the security of the region. The UN is there to back up agreements signed by the parties and to make sure they are stuck to or the international community will react. "The second thing is that the parties are making real steps forward and it has began to be realised that there is no reason now to continue with arms strife, that the region is ripe for quick economic development as the history of Uganda under President Museveni has shown." On why the UN sent only about 4,000 troops to help control the marauding militia groups terrorising especially eastern Congo, Levitte said, "Our mission is not to impose peace against the will of the key actors but to help the parties to implement and monitor the agreement that they have themselves negotiated, signed and now want to implement." Levitte said there will be a preparatory meeting of the parties to be organised by the Congo crisis chief facilitator, former Botswana President Ketumile Masire on July 16. The team included Wang Yingfan (China), Alfonso Valdivieso (Colombia), Curtis A. Ward (Jamaica), David Cooney (Ireland), Moctar Ouane (Mali), Anun Prijay Neewoor (Mauritius), Kishore Mahbubani (Singapore), Valery P. Kuchinsky (Ukraine), Greenstock (UK), Cameron R. Hume (USA) and Othman Jerandi (Tunisia). Ends

UN Backs Uganda Withdrawal From Congo

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