UN: Rwanda, Uganda Leave Congo
UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ In a bid to reinvigorate Congo’s frayed peace process, the Security Council demanded Friday that Rwanda and Uganda withdraw their forces from Congo immediately and threatened to consider possible sanctions if they don’t.
In a unanimously adopted resolution, the council also said Rwanda and Uganda should pay for the damage and deaths they inflicted on the northern Congolese city of Kisangani, where they fought pitched battles earlier this month, killing an estimated 300 people.
The resolution was adopted at the close of a two-day meeting of the warring sides in Congo’s 22-month-old civil war that included the foreign ministers of Rwanda, Uganda and Congo and representatives of the key rebel groups and other foreign armies involved in the conflict.
Uganda’s Foreign Minister, Amama Mbabazi, who chairs a committee of the various factions, said the meeting was a success because all sides reaffirmed their commitment to Congo’s year-old peace agreement, known as the Lusaka Accord.
``We therefore go with the confidence that this interaction will result in faster and effective implementation of Lusaka,″ Mbabazi told the council.
Most of the two-day sessions focused on pressing for all foreign forces to leave Congo and to encourage the process of national dialogue between the government and opposition. U.N. officials say the dialogue has been stymied by repeated obstacles mounted by the Kishasa government.
The debate among council members on the draft resolution had focused on whether to demand that Rwanda and Uganda pull out of Congo before the other foreign armies _ Namibia, Zimbabwe and Angola _ which are supporting Congolese President Laurent Kabila.
The resolution demands Rwanda and Uganda and other armed groups ``immediately and completely withdraw from Kisangani″ and from the entire country ``without further delay″ as called for by the peace agreement.
It says the two countries should make reparations ``for the loss of life and the property damage they have inflicted on the civilian population in Kisangani″ and asks the United Nations to submit a report on what the amount should be.
The resolution also says the council would consider possible ``measures″ if the Congo parties fail to abide by the demands in the resolution _ a reference to possible economic and diplomatic sanctions.