Zaire cool to U.N. peace plan
South Africa to host government-rebel talks
February 19, 1997
Web posted at: 12:30 p.m. EST (1730 GMT)
In this story:
KINSHASA, Zaire (CNN) -- Zaire on Wednesday said the U.N.
Security Council's resolution for a truce in its civil war
was too timid because it failed to condemn aggressors in the
Meanwhile, South Africa said it would host talks this week
between Zairian rebel leader Laurent Kabila and an envoy for
President Mobutu Sese Seko's government.
"Representatives of the contesting parties have made a
request that they would like to meet in South Africa ... to
be able to discuss their problems," President Nelson Mandela
He said he hoped the talks could begin on Thursday. There
was no immediate Zairian government confirmation of any
Zaire accuses Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi of invading the
eastern portion of the vast Central African country to fight
Reacting to the U.N. resolution, Zairian Foreign Minister
Kamanda wa Kamanda said there could be no cessation of
hostilities without a withdrawal of all international troops.
Tuesday's Security Council plan envisages an immediate
cease-fire, withdrawal of all outside forces, including
mercenaries, and respect for the national sovereignty and
territorial integrity of Zaire and other states in the
Kamanda said the resolution did not specify how the
withdrawal of international troops would be accomplished or
monitored. "If the foreign troops do not pull out, we
consider that there is no cessation of hostilities," he said.
Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi deny Zaire's accusations.
The United Nation's plan for ending the civil war through
dialogue also calls for elections, protection of refugees and
the convening of an international conference to resolve
conflicts in the region.
In New York, Zaire's acting U.N. ambassador, Lukabu Khabouji,
told CNN his country is willing to consider the plan, but
only if neighboring counties in Africa's Great Lakes region
do so as well.
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Fighting in Zaire has intensified recently, with government
air strikes this week on Tutsi-led rebels. The rebels have
seized a stretch of eastern Zaire at least 600 miles (1,000
km) long -- bordering on Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania
-- since the start of their revolt last October.
Kabila has warned that further offensives might lead him to
withdraw his offer to negotiate.
- The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees repeated pleas for
Zaire's largest refugee camp to be demilitarized and for
armed Rwandan Hutu extremists to be separated from genuine
refugees. Sadako Ogata said Zairian army commanders have
promised U.N. officials they will stop arming refugees in
Tingi-Tingi camp, crammed with an estimated 150,000 refugees.
- African foreign ministers were in the Zairian capital of
Kinshasa for talks with Zairian leaders. Before leaving
Nairobi, Kenya, the foreign ministers from Kenya, South
Tanzania, Cameroon, Congo and Zimbabwe said they would
prepare the way for a summit of regional leaders to try to
end the war.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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