Report: Probe of alleged killings in former Zaire may resume
October 25, 1997
Web posted at: 3:44 p.m. EDT (1944 GMT)
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo (CNN) -- U.S. envoy Bill Richardson held talks with President Laurent Kabila on
Saturday amid unconfirmed reports that an accord had been
reached to resolve an impasse over U.N. investigations into
alleged massacres of Rwandan refugees.
"It looks like an agreement of some sort has been reached.
The two sides will be making a joint statement," a U.S.
official was quoted as saying.
The official said Richardson, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, would spend another night in Kinshasa for further talks with government officials, and would not return next week as originally planned.
Another U.S. official told Reuters news service that a
technical committee made up of the two sides was working out
details of the statement.
|Journalist Jennifer Glasse is in Kinshasa and she
spoke with CNN about the hopes the U.N. team has for the visit
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The U.N. team was set up to investigate allegations that
Kabila's then-rebel forces slaughtered thousands of Rwandan
Hutu refugees during a seven-month campaign to oust Zairian
President Mobutu Sese Seko.
The U.N. team was sent to Kinshasa in September, but was
refused permission to carry out its mandate in eastern and
western parts of the former Zaire.
U.N. wants independent probe
According to the United Nations, the main sticking point is
that Kabila, who has repeatedly professed his army's
innocence, would not allow the team to investigate
independently and choose the sites to examine by itself.
A senior U.S. official was quoted as saying that Richardson
was now insisting on written guarantees from Kabila on the
U.N. team's ability to investigate independently.
Kabila, supported by regional allies, has said the probe must
start in Rwanda, where some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus
were slaughtered in 1994. Then the investigators could turn
to the Democratic Republic of Congo but would be restricted
to the eastern Kivu region. Also, the team could not look at
events occurring after May, when Kabila took power.
Congolese officials have argued that civilian refugees from
Rwanda were held hostage by soldiers and militia responsible
for Rwanda's 1994 genocide. Other refugees were said to have
fought with Mobutu's army.
Diplomats and human rights workers earlier described the
talks as "last-ditch efforts" to persuade Kabila to allow the
U.N. investigative team to carry out its work.
Correspondent Jennifer Glass and Reuters contributed to this report.