PRESIDENT Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo asked U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday for continued support as he seeks to stabilize the volatile eastern part of his vast Central African nation.
Bush held White House talks with Kabila, who last week said Congo’s army had orders to forcibly disarm soldiers loyal to renegade Gen. Laurent Nkunda in the North Kivu province.
“He shared with me his strategy to make sure that the government’s reach extends throughout the entire country and that there is stability throughout the country,” Bush told reporters.
Kabila said continued U.S. backing was vital.
“I emphasized and insisted on the fact that we need continued support by the United States in order to achieve ... basic stability throughout the whole country and embark on a very, very long journey of development,” he said.
Bush praised Kabila for last year’s elections and promised that Washington would work with him on economic development.Since winning the vote in the war-scarred former Belgian colony, Kabila has vowed to stabilize all of his country.
Nkunda, who has battled the government since August, said earlier this week that he would disband some of his rebels. But the rebels set new conditions for disarming on Thursday.
The long-promised handover had been seen as a sign that Nkunda was ready to meet government demands that he reintegrate his men into the army or face a military offensive.
Nkunda first led two army brigades into the bush .
PRESIDENTS: Joseph Kabila and George W. Bush