The Commission of the African Union, Press Release No. 025/2003, Addis Ababa, 24 March 2003.

The Interim Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Mr. Amara Essy, expresses grave concern over the tension between Uganda and Rwanda as a result of the current situation prevailing in the North-Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo in general, and in the localities of Bunia, Beni, Butembo, Lubero and Kanyabayonga in particular.

The Interim Chairperson recalls the commitments made by the various parties through the agreements they have signed and urges them to strictly comply with these agreements. He also urges them to refrain from any action that might exacerbate the situation in the region and jeopardize the on-going peace and reconciliation process.

The Interim Chairperson of the Commission recalls the discussions and decisions of the 7th Ordinary Session of the Central Organ of the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution at Heads of State and Government level held in Addis Ababa on 3rd February, calling among other things on the parties to make use of the existing mechanisms to address differences and requesting the Current Chairperson of the African Union to take all appropriate steps to sustain the momentum in the peace process in the DRC.

At a time when Uganda and Rwanda have announced their withdrawal from the DRC, this new tension is inopportune and very alarming.

The Interim Chairperson of the Commission calls on the parties to implement the agreements they have signed, thereby hastening the return of peace, security and stability in the region.

Addis Ababa, 24 March, 2003

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