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Francophone Summit Opens in Kinshasa

 The XIV Francophonie Summit is held from the 12nd to 14th October 2012 in
Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo). This is a conference held between the
Heads of States and Governments of the countries having the French as official
language. The Summit, which meets every two years, is the supreme authority of
the Francophonie and defines its policy to ensure the Francophonie’s in the

Leaders of French-speaking nations met for a summit in Kinshasa Saturday, with
France's President Francois Hollande stressing human rights and ending the
rebellion in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Only some 15 heads of state of the Francophonie organization’s 75 member
countries were present in the Congolese parliament building alongside their
host, DR Congo's President Joseph Kabila.

Kabila, who had talks with Hollande earlier Saturday, was greeted with
tumultuous applause as he arrived in the chamber, but elsewhere in the city
police clashed with dozens of opposition demonstrators defying a ban on
protests, witnesses said.

Hollande, who had earlier angered Kinshasa by saying that the situation in DR
Congo was unacceptable with regard to rights, democracy and recognition of the
opposition, rubbed the point home just before the summit opened.

"Francophonie is not just the French language. Speaking French also means
speaking about human rights, because the rights of man were written in French,"
he said, after talks with opposition representatives and NGOs, referring to the
Universal Declaration drafted by French revolutionaries.

The situation in DR Congo, whose eastern regions are the theater of violent
rebellions and ethnic conflict, and in Mali, where radical Islamists have seized
control of the north of the country, were expected to dominate the weekend

At the opening of the summit, Kabila spoke about "an unjust war imposed" by
outsiders in the east of the country, without specifically mentioning Rwanda,
accused by Kinshasa and the United Nations of backing rebels there.

"While our people are sparing no effort to improve their lives, negative forces
beholden to outside interests have for several months worked to disestablish our
country in Nord-Kive province", on the eastern border with Rwanda, Kabila said.

Hollande had earlier condemned the "outside attacks" in eastern DR Congo where
the army is combatting several militia groups in the mineral-rich region, and
called for renewing and re-enforcing the UN mission to the country (MONUSCO).

Rwandan President Paul Kagame was notably absent from the summit. His country
has denied the charges of giving military support to the rebels.

Earlier Saturday police used tear gas on some stone-throwing protesters opposed
to the Kabila regime to break up the banned demonstration.

Hollande, however, is expected to meet with the leader of opposition UPDS party,
Etienne Tshisekedi, later Saturday in Kinshasa.

The summit which runs through Sunday will also likely focus on the future of an
organization that has struggled for relevancy since its creation in 1970.

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