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Vol 44 No 1

Published 10th January 2003

Accords and aggravations

Congo-Kinshasa's halting peace efforts may at last help stabilise the region

This year, Central Africa and the Great Lakes region have a chance to break the ten-year cycle of violence since the Rwandan genocide and the ousting of President Mobutu Sese Seko. Peace deals have been signed and there is talk of elections in Congo-Kinshasa, Burundi and Rwanda. Western states have pledged US$2.5 billion in cheap loans for reconstruction and say they will back moves to cut Congo-K's $13 bn. foreign debt. Angola's war is over, South Africa sends peacekeeping troops to Congo-K and Burundi, all Congo's neighbours have promised to withdraw their troops and Kenya's peaceful transition offers an example of negotiated change. Yet the region's reputation as one of the most dangerous places in the world is maintained in Central African Republic and Congo-Brazzaville.

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