The Inter-Congolese Dialogue: Political Negotiation or Game of Bluff?

More than two years after the signing of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, the Inter-Congolese Dialogue officially opened in Addis Ababa on 15 October 2001, under the facilitation of Sir Ketumile Masire, the former President of Botswana. But the government of Joseph Kabila stonewalled, insisting that the absence of many delegates necessitated postponement. The meeting, scheduled to last 45 days, quickly deadlocked and was postponed to an unspecified date in South Africa. In order for the peace negotiations to succeed, the international community should more actively support direct dialogue between the governments of the DRC and Rwanda, as demanded by UN Security Council Resolution 1376 of 9 November 2001. The resolution calls for the establishment of a joint co-ordination mechanism on disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration (DDRRR). Without this the Inter- Congolese Dialogue will remain a game of bluff rather than a transparent political negotiation.