IRIN Update 442 for 20-22 June 1998.6.22

IRIN Update 442 for 20-22 June 1998.6.22

U N I T E D N A T I O N S Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa

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IRIN Update No. 442 for Central and Eastern Africa (Saturday-Monday 22-22 June 1998)

BURUNDI: Parties agree to "suspend hostilities"

After a week of closed-door meetings, delegations representing 17 Burundian factions at all-party talks in Arusha, northern Tanzania were reported yesterday (Sunday) to have agreed a "suspension of hostilities". A communique said the participants, brought together under the mediation of former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere, had agreed "to bring an end to the constant cycle of violence and fratricidal killings which have afflicted Burundi for a long time".

The ceasefire is due to come into force before 20 July when detailed peace negotiations begin. Initial reaction to the agreement was cautiously optimistic. The European Union's special envoy Aldo Ajello said he was "very satisfied" with the deal. Washington's special envoy Howard Wolpe described it as "very positive" and said it represented an "encouraging start" to resolving the conflict.

Several parties note reservations

Seven of the 17 parties who signed the final declaration did so with reservations. A copy of the document, received by IRIN today (Monday), showed that representatives of the Burundian government, and the Tutsi-dominated UPRONA and PARENA parties were among those whose handwritten reservations accompany their signatures. A western diplomat present in Arusha conceded to IRIN today the talks concluded in some "confusion", as time was running out.

Three contentious points emerge from these reservations. One is mention of Arusha as the venue of the next round of talks on 20 July 1998. The Burundian government has hoped for some time to move the peace process away from Tanzania, accusing Tanzania of not being neutral. The second is the "suspension of hostilities" itself: the government, and some of its supporters, felt that the relevant clause should specify "armed factions" rather than "armed parties" in an attempt to distinguish the army from rebel movements.

The third common complaint was that no mention is made of lifting sanctions in the declaration.

EU Special Envoy Aldo Ajello told IRIN today that the issue of the description of the "armed parties" was "semantic" and that a suspension of hostilities, including the army, was firmly agreed. According to Ajello's information, even the breakaway CNDD-FDD faction would not obstruct the agreement, he said, although they were not represented in Arusha. Ajello said he thought it likely that sanctions against Burundi could be suspended by regional heads of state if the next round of peace talks started and began to "make progress." He said the tone of the talks in general was "amazing", given the previous lack of communication between the parties, and that the progress made was "more than everyone expected".

UGANDA: Rebels abduct schoolgirls

Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels kidnapped 39 girls at a school in the northern Ugandan district of Kitgum in a night raid over the weekend, AFP reported today. The raid on Saint Charles Lwanga secondary school at Kalongo was confirmed by Major General Salim Saleh, a defence ministry aide to President Yoweri Museveni. Last week, UN Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict Olara Otunnu visited both Khartoum and Kampala and said the Sudanese government had pledged to help obtain the release of children abducted from Uganda and reportedly held by the LRA at its base camps across the border in Sudan. Meanwhile, on Saturday, Reuters reported that three Ugandan children abducted more than one year ago had been released.

SUDAN: Eritrea denies it launched cross-border attack

Eritrea has denied claims by Sudanese state media that it was responsible for attacks on seven positions in eastern Sudan last week. A spokesman at the Eritrean embassy in Nairobi told IRIN that Eritrean support for Sudanese rebels was "moral and political" only. He also denied reports in the Khartoum media that Eritrean forces were reclaiming tanks "borrowed" by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC): Kabila sets up reconstruction fund

The DRC has set up a special fund as part of the country's planned multi-billion-dollar reconstruction programme, Reuters reported government spokesman Didier Mumengi as saying on Saturday. He added that ministers had agreed to contribute 10 percent of their monthly salaries from the end of June to the fund.

Meanwhile, President Laurent-Desire Kabila has said he wants a strong and stable currency for the country and the introduction on 30 June of a new Congolese Franc could be a step towards that. Last Thursday, the central bank governor presented Kabila with an album containing samples of the new monetary unit, Congolese television reported. "It is undeniable that a strong and stable currency will attract private investment from inside and outside the country. I'm convinced the Congolese Franc will be a fundamental asset for starting and accompanying the process of national reconstruction," Kabila was quoted as saying.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Electoral commission sworn in

Members of the independent electoral commission CEMI (Commission electorale mixte independante) were sworn in on Thursday, AFP reported. The 53-member CEMI is responsible for organising and supervising parliamentary elections scheduled for August-September this year. One of its most important tasks is revise electoral lists and set definitive election dates. President of the Commission Michel Adama-Tamboux, who was nominated at end-May, is supported by two vice-presidents, one nominated by the government and the other by the G-11 group of opposition parties.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Government reaches deal with donors

The Congolese government clinched a deal with international donors in Washington last week on a reconstruction programme for the country, AFP reported yesterday. The agency quoted Congolese Finance Minister Mathias Dzon as saying that donors had agreed to contribute US $ 95 million while the government itself would put in US $ 145 million. The reconstruction programme for 1998 aims to rebuild the war-devastated capital and reestablish government administration and the education and health sectors.

KENYA: Two soldiers killed

Two soldiers - one US serviceman and one Tanzanian - who were taking part in a joint military exercise in Lodwar have died in separate incidents, the 'EastAfrican' reported today. The American, Dave Thuma, died of a heart attack while jogging with his colleagues last week while the Tanzanian, whose name could not be established immediately, died in a road accident on the Nakuru-Eldoret road in the Rift Valley.

More than 2,200 soldiers drawn from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, backed up by 375 US special troops, are taking part in the exercise. The purpose is to try and train a regional force which can deal with peacekeeping missions.

Military chiefs from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda visited the training camps last week accompanied by US ambassador to Kenya Prudence Bushnell. The envoy said it was important for African countries to have a force which can respond to peacekeeping calls on the continent.

Meanwhile, East African defence ministers - Gideon Ndambuki of Kenya, Edgar Majogo of Tanzania, and Amama Mbabazi of Uganda - signed a status of forces agreement on 18 June. This is intended to regulate the legal status of member states' defence forces within the East African Cooperation (EAC) regional grouping.

Nairobi, 22 June 1998 14:00 GMT


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Date: Mon, 22 Jun 1998 17:36:56 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 442 for 20-22 June 1998.6.22 Message-ID: <>

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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