Chronology of Events in Congo

Developments in Congo's civil war and peace efforts:

1997 Backed by neighboring Rwanda and Uganda, Laurent Kabila seizes power from Mobutu Sese Seko, who flees into exile.

1998 Kabila distances himself from Rwanda and Uganda, which back rebels who take control of much of eastern Congo. Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia send troops to support Kabila.

Aug. 31, 1999 Deployment of U.N. troops begins

Nov. 1, 1999 U.N. secretary-general recommends increase of U.N. personnel in DRC, including the deployment of up to 500 military observers, provided the necessary military conditions were met.

Nov. 13, 1999 U.N. secretary-general appoints Kamel Morjane (Tunisia) as his special representative for DRC.

Feb. 24, 2000 U.N. Security Council authorizes 5,500-strong U.N. force to monitor 1999 cease-fire among five foreign armies and Kabila, but fighting continues.

January 2001 Kabila killed by bodyguard and succeeded by son, Joseph. U.S. refugee agency says war has killed 2.5 million people, directly or indirectly, since August 1998.

February 2001 Kabila meets Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Washington. Rwanda, Uganda and the rebels agree to a U.N. pullout plan. Uganda, Rwanda begin pulling troops back from the front line.

May 2001 U.S. refugee agency says the war has killed 2.5 million people, directly or indirectly, since August 1998. Later, a U.N. panel says the warring parties are deliberately prolonging the conflict to plunder gold, diamonds, timber and coltan, used in the making of mobile phones.

September/October 2002 Uganda, Rwanda say they have withdrawn most of their forces from the east. U.N.-sponsored power-sharing talks begin in South Africa.

Sept. 10, 2002 U.N. secretary-general proposes an adjustment to U.N. peacekeeping structure in DRC and additional deployment of forces, based in Kindu and Kisangani, as well as a reserve battalion and specialized support units.

Dec. 4, 2002 U.N. Security Council authorizes expansion of U.N. personnel to 8,700 military personnel in two task forces.

June 2003 Kabila signs new constitution, negotiated with Congo's warring factions, under which interim government will rule for two years. After Ugandan withdrawal from northeastern Congo leaves deadly power vacuum, French-led European Union emergency force moves in for three months while U.N. force is assembled to pacify region. Kabila names transitional government to lead Congo until elections. Leaders of main former rebel groups are sworn in as vice presidents. Interim parliament inaugurated.

June 28, 2003 U.N. Security Council signs resolution further raising the U.N. personnel in the DRC to 10,800. At the same time, the council institutes a 12-month arms embargo over areas in the eastern part of the country -- the Ituri district and in North and South Kivu -- where armed conflict continues.

Oct. 1, 2004 U.N. Security Council authorizes an additional 5,900 personnel for DRC. Though the newly approved ceiling of 16,700 in total fell well below the figure of 23,900 troops and 507 civilian police personnel that he had recommended, the secretary-general said the move would contribute to improving the U.N.'s operational capabilities in the DRC, which were "severely under-resourced.

The security council also gave the U.N. mission in Congo new responsibilities, including ensuring the protection of civilians "under imminent threat of violence." The resolution also allowed the mission to inspect - without notice if necessary - aircraft cargo and other traffic in North and South Kivu and Ituri in line with the ban on arms trading in the area. The mission was also mandated to collect and dispose of arms and materiel that is found in the DRC in violation of international sanctions.