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Kabila Hope of Congo Peace Next Year - 2001-11-12

Joseph Kabila, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, says he is confident that 2002 will bring genuine peace to his nation. However, in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Kabila expressed concern about renewed violence in eastern Congo.

President Kabila thanked the U.N. Security Council for its recent approval of the next phase in the peace process. That involves the total withdrawal of all foreign forces in the DRC and the disarmament and demobilization of rebel groups.

Rwanda and Uganda had sent troops to help Congolese rebels while Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe assisted Congo's government.

President Kabila said that while most foreign forces are starting to leave, Rwanda is not cooperating. He accused Rwanda of reinforcing its troops in eastern Congo.

Now, U.N. military observers will supervise the withdrawal and demobilization in the eastern region.

Meeting with reporters after his speech to the General Assembly, Mr. Kabila said he is optimistic about the coming year. "The year 2002 will be the year of peace because most of the people are tired of the war," he said. "The Congolese people are tired of the war, the whole region is tired of the war and I am getting the feeling that the international community is also getting tired of the war."

Mr. Kabila said it is important that all segments of Congo participate in the dialogue of national reconciliation that will be held in South Africa and he looks forward to free and open elections in his country.