DR Congo

DRC: Dialogue in South Africa to end last week of March

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NAIROBI, 12 March (IRIN) - The final session of the inter-Congolese dialogue (ICD) will be held in South Africa in the last week of March, according to the talks facilitator, Botswanan former President Ketumile Masire.
The announcement was made in the Botswanan capital, Gaborone, on Tuesday, shortly after Masire had received copies of the Global and All-Inclusive Agreement for the Transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the Transitional Constitution from Moustapha Niasse, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy for the DRC peace process, in the presence of South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is on a state visit to Botswana.

The first part of the mediation ended on 17 December 2002 when all the parties to the ICD signed an agreement on power sharing.

The second part of the negotiations, which concluded on 6 March in Pretoria, South Africa, involved work on the transitional constitution security measures for the transition period, and the integration of the national army.

With discussions and negotiations complete, all parties to the ICD must now ratify the agreements at its final session, in addition to those agreed in Sun City last year. According to Masire's office, this act will legalise all agreements and pave the way for a transitional government to be installed in the DRC.

Masire expressed gratitude to Mbeki and the joint UN-South African mediation team, "without whom these negotiations would not have been concluded". He also thanked Annan for "his enduring commitment to the Congolese peace process".

"The road from Lusaka, where the Congolese signed the ceasefire agreement in July 1999, has been a long and difficult one," Masire stated.

"We are encouraged, however, that in the end, with the support of the international community, the United Nations, the African Union and its chairman, and the sister peoples of South Africa, we have now reached the stage where we can conclude the negotiation process and look forward to the implementation of the agreements reached by the Congolese for the good of their country and people," he added.

[ENDS]

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