International Peace Symposium Of Kisangani (D. R. Congo) Cancelled

ROME, MAY 22, 2002 ( The International Peace Symposium (SIPA2), which was to gather European volunteers in favor of peace and reconciliation in Kisangani (D. R. Congo) has been definitively cancelled.

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«To begin hostilities in Kisangani, while for two months this city has been preparing to hold the Peace Symposium, is evidently an intentional and obstinate refusal to be committed to the path of peace,» Archbishop Laurent Pasinya Monsengwo of Kisangani said.

The authorities «for security reasons» have canceled the meeting in Kisangani, originally scheduled to begin today until the 27.

Fifty civilians lost their lives during the tragic events that broke out unexpectedly in the city on May 14.

«We are disappointed and asked the participants to meet in any case in Bologna, Italy, at the ´Villaggio del Fanciullo,´ with a back-pack as if they were departing for Africa,» Fr. Albino Bizzotto, representative of the «Blessed Constructors of Peace,» told the Misna missionary agency

Based on leaks reported by Misna, the leaders of the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD-Goma), the rebel movement that controls the region with military and political support from Rwanda, supposedly impeded the holding of the initiative for security reasons.

In the past days Kisangani was a theater of violent clashes resulting in the deaths of at least 50 people, mostly civilians.

«It is not as much a shame for us as it is for the population, which believed so much in this occasion for peace, particularly the civilian society and Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kisangani, who worked so hard for the realization of the Symposium. Africa´s thirst of peace is once again deluded and another period of war and violence risks an outbreak in the Congo,» Fr. Bizzotto said.

However, the event may take place from September 16-22. «The suffering of this moment» must «again motivate our efforts and support for the victims of this war. We will meet in Bologna with this spirit. With the consent of all, we would like to agree on an action plan that in some way revives the SIPA, but in Italy,» the priest said.

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