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DR Congo peace talks making progress

Jan. 16, 2009 at 4:19 PM

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- U.N. officials facilitating peace talks between the Democratic Republic of the Congo government and rebel leaders say progress is being made.

The United Nations is sponsoring peace talks to end the violence in the DR Congo's eastern North Kivu province, which since August has forced an estimated 250,000 to flee their homes.

Olusegun Obasanjo, U.N. secretary-general special envoy to the African Great Lakes Region, said Thursday the talks being held between the DR Congo government and the rebel National Congress for the Defense of the People in Nairobi, Kenya, are cooling tensions and making slow progress toward peace, the United Nations reported.

"Much remains to be done," Obasanjo said in a statement. But "the atmosphere between the two delegations has tended to ease, with some confidence beginning to be built and the parties increasingly working together directly."

Obasanjo said that while there is a long distance to go, the negotiating parties have adopted ground rules to guide future dialogue.

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