TITLE=CONGO / REBELS (L)
INTRO: The leader of one of Congo-Kinshasa's rebel
groups "The Movement for the Liberation of Congo" has
signed the cease-fire agreement that was accepted by
regional heads of state on July 10th. V-O-A's John
Pitman reports from our West Africa Bureau.
TEXT: Rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba signed the
agreement (Sunday) in Zambia's capital, Lusaka.
He was flanked at the signing ceremony by Zambia's
president Frederick Chiluba - who mediated the
negotiations that led to the July 10th cease-fire
agreement - and Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa.
Speaking to reporters after signing the cease-fire,
Mr. Bemba said he hoped his signature would lead to a
peaceful resolution of the crisis between the rebels
and Congolese president Laurent Kabila.
/// BEMBA ACT - IN FRENCH; ESTABLISH AND
FADE UNDER ///
Mr. Bemba said -- I have signed this agreement to give
President Laurent Kabila a chance to leave power
peacefully. Calling Mr. Kabila -- a criminal
individual -- Mr. Bemba added that unlike the
government in Kinshasa, his rebel movement would keep
its promises to improve the lives of ordinary
Mr. Bemba's rebel group, "The Movement for the
Liberation of Congo", the M-L-C, controls a small
corner of northwestern Congo, but has recently
captured two important towns.
Friday, the M-L-C announced it had captured the town
of Zongo, on the border of the Central African
Republic. Earlier in July, Mr. Bemba's soldiers
overran Gbadolite - the hometown of former Zairean
dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.
In Zambia (Sunday), Mr. Bemba said his forces are
within 600-kilometers of the Congolese capital,
Kinshasa. But he stressed he would prefer to end the
Mr. Bemba - whose father is president Kabila's Economy
minister - said his troops would cease their offensive
operations within 24-hours. But he said the M-L-C
would continue to defend itself if attacked by
The 37-year-old rebel leader said his next objective
would be to convince the leaders of Congo's main rebel
group, "The Rally for Congolese Democracy" to sign the
Lusaka cease-fire agreement.
/// REST OPT ///
The R-C-D is currently divided into two factions, both
of which claim leadership over the entire group. This
internal division has prevented the R-C-D from signing
the agreement, even though its representatives were
among the key architects of the agreement signed July
01-Aug-1999 14:21 PM LOC (01-Aug-1999 1821 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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