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Congo's Election Rivals Meet for First Time Since Clashes


Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has met with his election rival Jean-Pierre Bemba for the first time since clashes between their supporters last month.

A spokesman for Mr. Kabila said the two met Wednesday in the context of a gathering between the president and his deputies. Mr. Bemba is one of the nation's four vice presidents.

The spokesman says the officials were to discuss security, among other concerns.

The meeting is believed to be the first time the two men have met face-to-face since the gunbattles in the streets of Kinshasa last month. At least 23 people were killed in the fighting.

President Kabila and Mr. Bemba face each other in Congo's presidential run-off vote, set for October 29.

Mr. Kabila captured 45 percent in the first round of voting July 30, short of the majority needed to avoid a run-off.

The DRC's elections are aimed at bringing a new era of democracy to the central African country after decades of dictatorial rule and war.

A five-year war beginning in 1998 involved six neighboring countries and killed an estimated four million people.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP.
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