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Regional meeting to address foreign fighters in DR Congo - UN mission

21 October 2005 The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi will meet late next week to discuss how to handle the foreign armed forces operating in the eastern region of the DRC, the peacekeeping United Nations Operation Mission (MONUC) there has said.

The four countries, known as the Tripartite Commission Plus One, will meet on 27 October in Kampala, according to MONUC spokesman Kemal Saiki "The Tripartite Commission meeting will decide on the serious consequences to implement against the foreign combatants operating in Eastern DRC," he told reporters in Kinshasa on Thursday.

In this connection, MONUC Force Commander Lt. Gen. Babacar Gaye is in Uganda's capital, Kampala, attending a meeting between the chiefs of the Ugandan and the DRC Army Staff, he said.

General Gaye had offered his services as facilitator in resolving such issues as "the presence of Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) fighters at the DRC-Sudanese border, arms embargo monitoring and the operations by the DRC armed forces against ADF/NALU (Allied Democratic Forces/National Army for the Liberation of Uganda)," Mr. Saiki said.

The DRC, Rwanda and Uganda formed the Commission in October 2004. Burundi formally joined it in September 2005 and the Tripartite Commission is now Tripartite Plus One.

On the issue of human rights, Mr. Saiki said MONUC was deeply concerned about cases of rape committed "on a regular basis" by elements of the local police, as well as by certain militiamen.

Mission military spokesman Lt. Col. Thierry Provendier also briefed on the work of a joint campaign carried out by MONUC and the national Armed Forces of DRC (FARDC) which resulted this week in the surrender of a large group of militiamen of the Union of Congolese Patriots-Thomas Lubanga faction (UPC/L).

"These first important surrenders, combined with the much-awaited launch of the community reintegration process for over 15,000 demobilized ex-combatants in Ituri, are so many reasons for hoping that this movement would continue in this district, Colonel Provendier said.

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