UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
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. 464 for Central and Eastern Africa (Wednesday 22 July 1998)
BURUNDI: Minister calls for direct talks with rebels
Burundian Peace Process Minister Ambroise Niyonsaba has reportedly called for direct talks with rebel groups about a proposed ceasefire in the country, according to AFP. In an interview with the news agency in Arusha, where he is attending resumed Burundi peace talks, Niyonsaba said: "We have army officers in the government delegation and we want to discuss the ceasefire directly with the rebels."
News reports said yesterday's (Tuesday) talks in Arusha proved tough, with the sides failing to reach agreement on the agenda. The government delegation reportedly wants issues to be discussed in committee, especially with regard to the nature of the conflict, while the opposition FRODEBU party supports plenary discussions. Talks are due to resume today (Wednesday).
RWANDA: Paris Club creditors write off 67 percent of debt
The Paris Club of creditor nations has agreed to restructure Rwanda's external debt, writing off 67 percent of its debts, according to media reports. A statement issued by the group today said the decision had taken into account "the very low income per inhabitant and the very high debt burden". Conditions in Rwanda "justify major adjustment efforts and exceptional treatment of the debt", the statement added. Creditor nations also opened the way for converting bilateral debts, totalling 20 percent, into investment, aid and environmental protection schemes.
A UN newsletter meanwhile said a "demobilisation and reintegration programme" for 1998-2000, totalling US $8 million, was signed in June between the Rwandan government and UNDP. The programme will facilitate the demobilisation and reintegration of 40,000 ex-FAR members.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Assembly to sit on 15 August
DRC's new constituent and legislative assembly will be inaugurated on 15 August, according to Minister of State for the Interior Gaetan Kakudji. The Agence congolaise de presse said he reiterated at a news conference that political activity would only resume six months before general elections, but he reassured assembly members of the government's commitment to democracy. One of the assembly's tasks will be to adopt the country's draft constitution.
Ministers donate to reconstruction fund
Meanwhile, government ministers on Monday kicked off a "solidarity fund" for national reconstruction by each donating 10 percent of their monthly salary, ACP reported. The fund was set up "in the absence of concrete international assistance", the agency said.
Belgian killed at checkpoint
A Belgian national was shot dead at a roadblock near the presidential palace in Kinshasa last night, news reports said. For some unknown reason, he refused to stop at the checkpoint after leaving a function at the Belgian residence and security forces opened fire.
WFP resumes food distributions outside Bukavu, Goma
WFP has resumed food distributions to 45,000 displaced people in the Bukavu and Goma areas after the local authorities lifted measures restricting aid agencies from working outside the towns. In its latest weekly report, WFP said the displaced people were in dire need of food assistance. In the southern part of the country, some 30,000 Angolan refugees have arrived in the village of Kisenge, Katanga province, fleeing ongoing fighting between the Angolan government and UNITA forces. WFP said an assessment mission earlier this month by WFP, UNHCR and the government found the refugees' health and nutritional situation was not bad but could worsen unless proper shelter and food assistance were received.
UGANDA: Museveni defends one-party system
President Yoweri Museveni has been defending the ban on political party activity, saying it is based on the wishes of the Ugandan people, the BBC reported. He said political parties divided underdeveloped countries along ethnic lines. He told a news conference yesterday however that people would be able to decide whether to return to multi-partyism in a referendum to be held in a year's time. Museveni also proposed holding a referendum on a regional unity government for Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, AFP reported. The regional government would deal with issues such as common markers, foreign affairs and defence, according to his proposal. He dismissed suggestions that he would preside over such a government, saying the real issue was about "the destiny of the people".
SUDAN: Pro-government factions agree to cease fire
Pro-government factions who have been fighting each other in south Sudan's al-Wihda state have worked out a ceasefire agreement, AFP reported, citing Suna news agency. Clashes have been underway between Riak Machar's South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF) and Paulino Mateb's South Sudan United Movement/Army (SSUM/A). Government peacebroker Adam al-Tahir Hamdoun was quoted as saying the two sides had agreed to a cessation of hostilities and to "unify efforts in fighting the rebel [SPLA] movement, instead of an inter-family conflict". Mateb broke away from the SSDF after a disagreement with Machar over its military leadership, AFP said.
KENYA: UNDP-EU project to make Mombasa port more efficient
A joint project by UNDP and the European Union is set to equip the port of Mombasa with cargo-tracking computers to monitor consignments to and from the port. The electronic data interchange would help in the transfer of cargo manifests and enable documents and stowage plans to arrive before the cargo so that arrangements on port operations could start early. This is expected to simplify the paper work, customs procedures and processing of documents. Mombasa port has been strongly criticised for inefficiency and long delays in off-loading and on-passing cargo. A spokesman at the EU office in Nairobi told IRIN the EU was funding the project at a cost of US $11 million and UNDP is providing administrative support.
Nairobi, 22 July 1998, 14:00 gmt
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Date: Wed, 22 Jul 1998 17:09:01 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 464 for 22 July 1998.7.22 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.980722170809.101Aemail@example.com>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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