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DRC Rebel Group Eases Demands After Peace Talks - 2002-04-09

A key rebel faction in the Democratic Republic Congo war has softened it's stance at the Sun City, South Africa peace talks.

The Ugandan-backed Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) said it is prepared to let current President Joseph Kabila play a role in a post-war government. However, a second rebel faction, the Rwandan-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD), is still insisting that President Kabila step down.

The peace talks have stalled for weeks over the formation of a transitional government and the creation of a new army. On Monday, South African President Thabo Mbeki stepped in to help the warring parties come to agreement. Later on Monday, the Kinshasha government said it was willing to make some concessions to key rebel demands.

The meetings began more than a month ago in the South African resort town of Sun City and are scheduled to end later this week.

Rebels backed by neighboring Rwanda and Uganda launched a civil war in 1998 to drive out then-President Laurent Kabila. Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe allied with the government in Kinshasa.

President Kabila was assassinated in January of last year. His son, Joseph Kabila, stepped in as president. The conflict has claimed at least 2.5 million lives.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.