Summary

  • Standing today at a crossroads between war and peace, the Congo threatens either to drag the entire Central African region into a quagmire of conflict or to provide the engine of economic reconstruction necessary for stability and democratization.
  • The Lusaka cease-fire agreement provides a last exit on the region's highway to hell. The agreement validates both the territorial integrity of the Congo and the international responsibility to counter threats to international peace and stability, including the threat posed by those who committed the 1994 Rwandan genocide, insurgents who are now based in the Congo.
  • The international community must provide robust support for the implementation of the Lusaka agreement, including its provisions for a national dialogue to address key issues of governance in the Congo and a for a joint military commission (JMC) to harmonize regional efforts to disarm or otherwise neutralize the numerous Congo-based insurgencies destabilizing neighboring countries.
  • The international community must also direct support toward grassroots efforts at coexistence and reconciliation, toward democratic institution building and human rights advocacy in the Congo and the surrounding region, toward economic development as a tool of peacebuilding, and toward demobilization and reintegration.

 

About the Report

This special report results from a multicountry fact-finding mission by Institute Executive Fellow John Prendergast and the coordinator of the Institute's Africa programs David Smock. The authors discussed the Congo with over 200 people in government-and rebel-held areas of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda, as well as with officials from the Organization for African Unity (OAU), United Nations (UN), Europe, the United States, and representatives from other countries involved in the Congolese conflict. This is the second of a series of three special reports on conflict resolution in Africa: the initial report was on the Horn of Africa (July 1999) and a forthcoming one will be on Rwanda and Burundi.

The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Institute of Peace, which does not advocate specific policies.

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