DRC Cancels Burial Invite For Uganda

By Vision Reporter

THE DR Congo has withdrawn an invitation to Uganda to attend the burial of President Laurent Kabila slated for today in Kinshasa.

By Richard Mutumba THE DR Congo has withdrawn an invitation to Uganda to attend the burial of President Laurent Kabila slated for today in Kinshasa. State minister for regional cooperation Amama Mbabazi said yesterday as a result, Uganda would not send a delegation to the funeral. Uganda and Rwanda, which back rebels fighting the regime in Kinshasa, said on Monday they were yet to be invited to the funeral. "We have heard from our ambassador in Brussels that an earlier invitation to attend the funeral had been withdrawn. I have therefore asked the ambassador to put the matter in writing," Mbabazi said. Speaking a day after DRC's ambassador in Belgium said he had been instructed to ask both countries to attend today's ceremony, officials in Kampala and Kigali said they would have taken such an offer seriously. "As of last night, we haven't received an invitation. Someone would go if we were invited," President Museveni's press secretary Hope Kivengere told AFP. In Brussels on Sunday, DR Congo ambassador Albert Kisonga, said, "My government instructed me this morning to ask Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi to send, if they wished, representatives to Laurent Kabila's funeral." But Rwandan foreign minister Seth Kamanzi told AFP in Kigali, "We have not received any official invitation, no programme for the ceremonies and we do not intend to invite ourselves to the funeral," "If we had received an invitation we would seriously consider the question," Kamanzi added. Kisonga said this was a sign of "opening up" on the part of the new regime in Kinshasa led by Kabila's son, General Joseph Kabila, 31. Laurent Kabila was shot by a bodyguard last Tuesday in Kinshasa. Meanwhile, US ambassador Martin Brennan yesterday called on President Museveni at State House, Nakasero. Earlier, Museveni received a message from the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar Gadaffi. In another development, First Deputy Premier and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eriya Kategaya has expressed regret over Kabila's assassination. Speaking during an interview on Cameroonian Television, Kategaya said coups and assassinations are outmoded fashions of political change as they do not solve any problems. In a statement issued by the foreign ministry in Kampala, Kategaya renewed Uganda's commitment to the Lusaka peace accord and called for a peaceful settlement. Kategaya represented President Museveni at the 21st Summit Conference of Heads of State and Government of Africa and France, in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon. Ends

DRC Cancels Burial Invite For Uganda