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The United States Wants Nkunda To Surrender And Go Into Exile

Congo Planet - November 30, 2007

Jendayi Frazer The United States government has asked renegade general Laurent Nkunda to go into exile and allow his troops to join the integration process into the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC).

Speaking to reporters during a briefing on Friday, Jendayi Frazer, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said that her special envoy Tim Shortley has been in contact with Nkunda and "we've clearly conveyed the message to him that he should surrender, go into exile and allow his forces to go into brassage or to be demobilized by MONUC".

"Clearly, as a sovereign government, President Kabila has the right to try to exercise territorial sovereignty; i.e., that he should be able to provide security throughout his territory and has the right to use his forces against what is essentially a rebellious, you know, general from his military. And so, obviously, that's also there. But our concern is that the civilian population not be caught in the middle of such an offensive against Nkunda, and so we've been urging Nkunda, the government of Kabila, to try to end this through peaceful means. And I think the best way is for Nkunda to go into exile. Actually, he hasn't been willing to do that up to this point, but so it may be necessary for President Kabila to bring greater pressure on him, including military pressure".

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will travel to Ethiopia on wednesday, December 5th where she is going to hold a Great Lakes summit of the Tripartite plus with the heads of states and ministers, foreign ministers and defense ministers from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo.

Assistant Secretary Frazer said that "The Tripartite Plus group was established by the United States to facilitate dialogue and build confidence among the four countries in the Great Lakes region. This meeting is expected to further develop strategies and common security mechanisms to address what are known as the negative forces in the Congo, groups like the FDLR, the former Rwandan genocidaires, the Lord's Resistance Army and other groups in the Congo".

"The meeting will also foster dialogue between the governments and seek common efforts to eliminate gender-based violence. We expect it to be attended at the head of state level, from the officials of the four countries as well as observers being invited from the United Nations, AU Chairman Konare, and the Great Lakes envoy for the EU".

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