In March 2000, Philip Winter was approached to act as Chef de Cabinet to the ex-President of Botswana, Sir Ketumile ‘Quett’ Masire, who had been selected to chair and facilitate the talks to which three main warring parties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had agreed in the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in 1999. The long and complicated discussions which followed, with so many other interested parties, turned into a negotiating marathon lasting over three years and culminating in a signed agreement in Sun City in April 2003. Masire was especially mindful of the need to maintain a neutral stance between all the parties involved – not easy for any of those who worked tirelessly to bring the agreement to fruition.
This account of the negotiations, taken from the author’s notes at the time and from minutes and reports of the many meetings, forms a definitive record of how patience and diplomacy set the framework for a better future for the eighty million inhabitants of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is a book which should be read by all those interested in the resolution of conflicts in general and in Africa in particular.