UN Security Council Calls For Truce, Talks in Congo

September 2, 1998
UNITED NATIONS The Security Council on Monday called for a ceasefire, the withdrawal of all foreign forces and the start of a political dialogue to end the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In a statement read at a formal meeting, the council also supported the territorial integrity of the Congo and all regional diplomatic attempts aimed at a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the vast central African country.

The council called again for an international conference on peace, security and development in the region to be organised by the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity. Monday's statement was the first official reaction from the 15-member body, aside from informal press statements, about the month-old rebellion against President Laurent Kabila's Kinshasa government, which has drawn in troops from five nations.

The council's current president, Danilo Turk of Slovenia, told reporters it had been difficult to convince members that the time had come for an international response. The democratic congo, he said, was seen for a very long time, until the late part of August, as an internal problem. The problems of the Democratic Republic of the Congo must be solved on the basis of a process of all-inclusive national reconciliation which fully respects the equality and harmony of all ethnic groups, and which leads to the holding of democratic, free and fair elections as soon as possible, the council said in its statement.