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Rwanda, Congo And Great Lakes

Volume 403: debated on Thursday 10 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his assessment is of the situation in Rwanda, the Congo and the Great Lakes region. [107713]

Our aim is lasting peace and stability in the Great Lakes region. Recent developments have been encouraging, although we remain concerned about the humanitarian situation, continued outbreaks of fighting and human rights abuses, particularly in eastern Congo.In the Democratic Republic of Congo we warmly welcome the recent agreement on the establishment of a transitional government with a view to democratic elections in two years time. We hope that the Congolese people can take this opportunity to end almost five years of civil war. We were shocked to learn of the appalling civilian massacre by militia in and around the town of Drodro in DRC's Ituri Province on 3 April. The UK strongly condemns such acts.In Rwanda, preparations are in hand for a full national referendum on the Constitution, to be held on 26 May. We look forward to free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections later this year.In Burundi we welcome President Buyoya's commitment to hand over power on 1 May. This will be a further important step in the implementation of the Arusha peace process.