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Mbeki pushes for DR Congo peace
August 31, 2004
South African President Thabo Mbeki is to meet former rebels again to try to persuade them to rejoin the Democratic Republic of Congo's government.
He said talks on Monday were fruitful with one of the transitional vice-presidents, the leader of the Rally for Congolese Democracy, Azarias Ruberwa.

Mr Ruberwa suspended the party's participation in the government after a massacre in neighbouring Burundi.

The killing of 160 refugees prompted fears of a return to war in the region.

Mr Ruberwa said there would be more talks later on Tuesday, which could determine their future role in government.

Mr Mbeki also met President Joseph Kabila and another former rebel leader on Monday.


The BBC's Arnaud Zajtman in Kinshasa says the political crisis in DR Congo has overshadowed the original agenda of Mr Mbeki's visit, which was expected to focus on economic issues.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he feared rebels from Rwanda and DR Congo had co-operated in the massacre of ethnic Tutsi refugees, which Hutu rebels in Burundi had claimed responsibility for.

Mr Annan urged the governments of Rwanda, Burundi and the DR Congo to end "the scourge of ethnic-based hostilities and abuse afflicting the people in the region".

He urged all parties not to allow the incident to revert years of progress towards peace.

The UN Security Council is scheduled to discuss the situation in Burundi later on Tuesday.

Violence between the majority Hutu tribe and the minority Tutsis has afflicted the Great Lakes region of central Africa for over a decade.

The genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and subsequent wars in Burundi and DR Congo have stemmed from it.


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