As the peace talks in Addis Ababa break down, it is feared that war could return to the troubled Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The DR Congo, formerly Zaire, has been in conflict for three years, since the forces of Laurent-Desire Kabila swept to victory against deceased ex-President Mobutu Sese Seko. Joseph Kabila succeeded his father as president of the country after his assassination and initiated a process of reconciliation.
However, the two blocks which had fought Africa’s so-called First World War are still in place. On one side, the government of the DR Congo, which controls the western half of the country, backed by Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia. On the other side, the Tutsi rebels, which control eastern DR Congo, backed by Rwanda and Uganda.
The government team abandoned the talks in Addis Ababa, claiming that it would not participate until a more representative number of groups were present. The Rwanda-backed opposition claim that the government is stalling because it does not want peace and accused the walk-out as being staged and premeditated. Opposition party Union for Democracy and Social Progress spokesperson Valentin Mubake Nombi claimed that “we have never even for a minute talked on issues of national reconciliation that brought us to Addis Ababa”.
It is now necessary to find new donors to sponsor and finance a larger conference which is being planned for South Africa. While this is being done, fighting is already reported to have broken out in Kivu. Another bitter war looms over the DR Congo.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru LISBON PORTUGAL
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