Mobutu back in Zaire; S. Africa resumes peace efforts
Sources: Rebel troops advance toward Kinshasa
May 15, 1997
Web posted at: 11:56 a.m. EDT (1556 GMT)
KINSHAHA, Zaire (CNN) -- Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko
returned to the capital on Thursday as mediators tried to
revive broken-down peace talks and rebels advanced toward
Lead elements of forces led by rebel leader Laurent Kabila
were moving along a highway between the Nsele and Bombo
rivers, putting them about 50 miles (80 km) east of the
capital, a source told CNN.
Rebel advancement to Kinshasa
Military analysts have said a bridge at the Nsele River could
become a confrontation point between rebel troops and
The Zairian government, however, maintains that rebel forces
are being held up by the army at the Kwango River about 180
km (110 miles) east of Kinshasa.
Unable to get rebel leader Laurent Kabila to go to Pointe
Noire, Congo, to meet with President Mobutu Sese Seko as
planned on Wednesday, South African and U.N. officials were
meeting separately with the men or their representatives
The talks were to focus on the creation of a transitional
authority in Zaire.
|UNHCR spokesperson Peter Kessler describes the|
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|CNN Correspondent Mike Hanna describes |
the talks between Kabila and Mandela
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South African officials would not comment on a state radio
report that South Africa had made a 10-point proposal for
Mobutu and Kabila to consider that called for the president
to step down within 24 hours after signing it.
According to the report, the transitional authority --
consisting of representatives from all parties in proportions
agreed to by Mobutu and Kabila -- would govern until
elections are held.
As Mobutu left Pointe Noire to return to Kinshasa, a Zairian
government delegation led by Foreign Minister Gerard Kamanda
wa Kamanda prepared to talk with South African Deputy
President Thabo Mbeki.
Kabila was en route to Cape Town, where he was to meet with
South African President Nelson Mandela on Thursday afternoon.
Mandela flew home from Pointe Noire earlier in the day.
Wednesday's mediation effort broke down when Kabila, citing
security concerns, demanded that the talks take place at sea
rather than in the harbor as they did when the rival leaders
first met on May 4.
Mandela refused to move the vessel.
Correspondent Mike Hanna and Reuters contributed to this report.
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