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Democratic Republic of Congo

The last conflict, that is currently winding down, started in 1998 when Rwandan and Ugandan-backed rebel groups began fighting against then President Laurent-Désiré Kabila, who had previously attained power with their assistance in the 1996-97 conflict. At a meeting of the South African Development Community (SADC), the late President Laurent-Désiré Kabila requested support against the rebel groups and three countries - Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe - pledged their assistance. The Lusaka Peace Accords, signed on July 10, 1999 in Zambia between the main parties to the conflict, called for cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of all foreign troops.

Following the death of Laurent-Désiré Kabila in January 2001, his son Joseph Kabila took over the presidency. Under the tutelage of Joseph Kabila, much progress toward peace has taken place. This progress includes, among other events, the signing of the Sun City Accord on April 2, 2003 and the establishment of a transitional government of national unity, with the participation of rebel groups, in June 2003. Further, President Kabila has declared that he is determined to hold elections in June 2005, as stipulated in the peace agreements.


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Photo Credits: First picture on left Guy Tillim. Others by UN/DPI