28 August 2001


NEW YORK, 27 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of a statement issued today attributable to the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General is pleased to learn that the participants at the Preparatory Meeting for the Inter-Congolese dialogue, which convened in Gaborone, Botswana, from 20 to 24 August, have agreed to start the dialogue on 15 October 2001 in Addis Ababa.

He notes the readiness of the Congolese parties, for the first time since the start of the conflict, to sit at the same negotiating table and discuss how to achieve enduring peace and national reconciliation in their country. He encourages them to build on the spirit of Gaborone and wishes them success in their endeavour.

The Secretary-General commends the Facilitator of the Inter-Congolese dialogue, Sir Ketumile Masire and his team for their hard work and reiterates the continued readiness of the United Nations to assist and to support their effort.

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