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Security Council demands liberation of Moliro

The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday demanded that the Rwandan-backed rebel group Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) withdraw "immediately and without condition" from the town of Moliro, on Lake Tanganyika in Katanga Province, southeastern DRC, which it captured from Congolese government forces on 16 March.

In a unanimous vote, the 15-member Council adopted a resolution which condemned the Rwanda-backed rebels for taking the town and said it was a "major violation" of the Lusaka peace accord, signed in 1999.

It further demanded that all parties withdraw to the defensive positions called for in the Harare disengagement plans, signed in December 2000, and that the illegally occupied town of Pweto, some 175 km to the west, on Lake Mweru, be liberated to allow for demilitarisation of the region.

The Security Council called on Rwanda "to exert its influence" on the RCD so that the demands of the resolution could be implemented.

The current Security Council president, Ole Peter Kolby of Norway, said the body wanted to send a message that it would not tolerate unilateral actions from a party to the cease-fire, which was trying "to derail this delicate process that is now underway," the Associated Press agency (AP) reported.

Mediation efforts aimed at restarting the inter-Congolese dialogue being held in Sun City, South Africa, continued on Tuesday but the DRC government appeared to rule out a resumption of the talks before the weekend.

The Kinshasa delegation walked out of the dialogue on Thursday 14 March, suspending its participation, in protest at the RCD's seizure of Moliro with the alleged support of Rwandan troops.

A spokesman in Sun City said the government was waiting to see the outcome of a meeting of the heads of state signatories to the Lusaka peace accord, scheduled for Friday, before returning to the negotiating table.

A spokesman for the rebel Mouvement de liberation du Congo (MLC), Olivier Kamitatu, said it was hoped that the Friday meeting would lead to an announcement on withdrawal of foreign troops from the DRC.

The UN observer mission in the DRC (known by its French acronym MONUC), which is expected to maintain a permanent presence in Moliro, confirmed on Tuesday that military clashes were continuing in and around the town.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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