The Socialist International reaffirms its complete support for the peace efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and reiterates its call for the full implementation of the Lusaka Agreement, which provides for dialogue among Congolese groups, the establishment of a ceasefire, the withdrawal of all foreign forces, the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force and the writing of a new constitution in preparation for holding fully democratic elections.
The International, following our SI mission to the Great Lakes this past February, is pleased that some significant progress has been made along these lines. But we recognise that much work is still required by all concerned to ensure that the foundation for a lasting peace is properly set.
We further recognise that the achievements thus far have been the result of a willingness to negotiate: this, the International hopes, will be sustained. In this regard, we fully support the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, a key component of the peace process, and appreciate the important role of the President of South Africa in helping to facilitate it.
These talks, as expected, have not been easy, and the lack of a firm ceasefire remains a critical concern, particularly in eastern areas of the country where there has been a renewed surge of violence.
But the International believes, based on long experience promoting peace in the different regions of the world, that only a political rather than a military solution is viable. We therefore strongly urge all sides to make every effort to keep the dialogue on track and move forward, and call as well for greater recognition and support for social and civic forces working in the country for peace and democracy.
The International also fully supports the efforts of the United Nations, including through the United Nations Organisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUC, to promote the implementation of the Lusaka Agreement, and its readiness to provide peacekeepers when the Inter-Congolese Dialogue develops further.
With regard to neighbouring Burundi, the International is pleased, following our mission to that country in February as well, by the achievements of the transitional democratic institutions established last year.
However, as in the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo, we remain very concerned by the lack of a ceasefire and the continuing violence in Burundi. We again recognise and appreciate the role of South Africa, this time in deploying its forces to help secure and advance the peace process in Burundi, and we encourage other countries in the region to help in whatever ways possible to persuade the armed groups to enter into dialogue as the crucial first step toward a cessation of hostilities.
With regard to Angola, the International welcomes the end of the civil war and expresses its solidarity and support to Angola and to our member party, MPLA, in its efforts to ensure a lasting peace, economic development and social welfare.