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UN Security Council mission gives the region a thumbs-up

DAR ES SALAAM, 11 Nov 2005 (IRIN) - At the end of a UN Security Council mission to the Great Lakes the head of the delegation said on Thursday that compared to two years earlier, when he was in the region heading a similar tour, the situation has improved markedly.

"We are profoundly impressed with the positive developments particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi," Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, France's ambassador to the UN, who led the 15-member delegation, said at a news conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The delegation had earlier visited DRC, Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda.

"Relations between countries in the region are also encouraging," de la Sabliere said.

"Burundi's transitional process is now settled, after elections earlier this year. In the DRC elections will also take place," he said.

However, he expressed concern about the various armed groups based in eastern Congo that continue to destabilise the region.

Thousands of rebels from neighbouring Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda are bases there.

Outgoing Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa told the delegation on Thursday that he was disappointed with the leaders of Burundi's rebel Forces nationales de liberation after they had promised to take part in a peace process with the government in Bujumbura.

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