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Peace and reconciliation in the Great Lakes Region

Letter to H.E. President Joseph Kabila, Democratic Republic of the Congo

24 June 2004

Letter to H.E. President Joseph Kabila, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Your Excellency,

The World Council of Churches, in close collaboration with the All Africa
Conference of Churches and the churches of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic
of Congo, has been actively involved, for over a decade, in efforts to bring about
just and lasting peace for the Great Lakes Region. In this connection several consultations
of church leaders were organized in order to promote peace and reconciliation.
In addition, the WCC also facilitated an ecumenical team visit comprising
representatives of the two Christian Councils of the Democratic Republic
of Congo and Rwanda to meet with government officials and church leaders of
the respective countries. The main objective of these visits was to mobilize support
among the churches in the region for the Lusaka Peace Agreement of August
1999 and in particular the Sun City Agreement of April 2003.

Given this background, the World Council of Churches is deeply concerned
and troubled by the current developments on the border of Rwanda and the
Democratic Republic of Congo. The people of these two great nations have undergone
considerable pain and suffering, particularly during the last decade. They
desperately need peace with justice in order to live in dignity and harmony with
each other. The World Council of Churches is of the considered opinion that if
the current crisis is not handled with care and sensitivity, it is likely to lead to
open hostilities between the two countries. This will have an adverse effect on the
peace initiative that has been reached after difficult and complex negotiations.

The recent influx of over 30,000 Congolese refugees to Burundi is also a matter
of grave concern to the World Council of Churches.

Acknowledging your efforts and contribution to peace and reconciliation in
the Great Lakes Region and in particular in relation to the situation in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Council of Churches appeals to you
to urgently address and defuse the current state of tension through dialogue, mediation
and peaceful settlement.

Assuring you of our continuing prayers and support for peace and reconciliation
in the Great Lakes Region.

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary