DR Congo appeals for Angola support

Luanda affirms support for the government but pledges no military support.

    Angola has repeatedly denied speculation that it has sent troops over the border to quell unrest [EPA]

    Speaking at Brazzaville airport before departing for Angola and Gabon, Kabila said the humanitarian situation in eastern Congo was "dramatic and catastrophic".

    "Nearly two million of our compatriots are dispersed around Goma and beyond," he said, referring to the main city in the east of his vast and troubled country.

    He did not specify over what period those two million had been displaced, but fighting has plagued the east since the end of August.

    Kudura Kasongo, a spokesman for Kabila, said a special summit of the 10-nation Economic Community of Central African States (Eccas) on the DR Congo crisis will take place next week in the capital Kinshasa, although a firm date has yet to be set.

    Angolan influence

    Angola's army intervened to support DR Congo during strife that raged in the Great Lakes region from 1998-2003.

    But Angola has repeatedly denied speculation that it has sent troops over the border to quell the current unrest and said it will only intervene if called on to do so by the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) bloc.

    Renegade general Laurent Nkunda, who leads the rebel forces in eastern Congo, warned that a deployment of Angolan troops would risk setting "the Great Lakes region on fire".

    Nkunda said he wants direct talks with Kabila
    In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, Nkunda said he accepts partial responsibility for the upheaval, but also said that his National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), were "looking for a solution" to the country's many problems.

    "If you can compare Congo with other countries, there is no life, there is no economy, there is no salary, there is no administration, no justice - so how can we think we are destroying?" he asked.

    "We are asking for talks and maybe if Kabila can accept it will be the end of the war," Nkunda said.

    Kabila has so far refused to meet Nkunda.

    Dialogue focus

    Summarizing two hours of talks with Congo-Brazzaville counterpart Denis Sassou Nguesso, Kabila said the focus was on "dialogue as the best way to resolve the problem on the ground".

    "We also insisted on supporting those who have been displaced," he added.

    Sassou Nguesso said: "We give our total support to all efforts that contribute to a definitive solution to this situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo."

    In a joint statement, the two presidents appealed to the international community to help refugees from the fighting.

    The United Nations Security Council approved 3,000 reinforcements for the UN mission in the DR Congo on Thursday.

    There are now 17,000 troops from 18 nations, including 4,000 from India, in Monuc, making it the biggest UN peacekeeping operation in the world.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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