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IRIN Update No. 470 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 30 July 1998)
BURUNDI: Peace talks end in Arusha, next meeting in October
The second round of peace talks in the Tanzanian town of Arusha ended yesterday (Wednesday) with agreement to meet again on 12 October, the independent Hirondelle news agency reported. It cited mediator, former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere, as saying the next stage would focus on the creation of working committees to debate issues of democracy and good governance as well as security. He added that points of disagreement at the current round of talks, such as the rules of procedure, could be resolved before the October session. Burundi's Peace Process Minister Ambroise Niyonsaba meanwhile told Hirondelle the government "no longer had any reservations" with regard to Arusha as the talks' venue.
Belgian minister visiting to discuss aid
Belgian Secretary of State for Development Cooperation Reginald Moreels was due in Bujumbura today (Thursday) on a three-day visit. Analysts told IRIN he would have talks with top government officials during which he is expected to pledge further aid to Burundi. Belgium is especially supportive of the food-for-work programmes, education, healthcare and road construction. It is also contributing financially to the Arusha peace process.
Amnesty says judiciary "not impartial"
Ammesty International today accused Burundi's judiciary of being "neither independent nor impartial". In a report, it claimed many trials had been "grossly unfair". "The majority...have failed to meet internationally recognised standards for fair trial," the report said. Prison conditions were harsh and aggravated by severe overcrowding, the report added.
RWANDA: Judge denies resigning from ICTR
The Swedish judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Lennart Aspegren, has denied resigning from the Tribunal. In an interview with the Hirondelle news agency from his home in Stockholm, he said: "I have not resigned. I am simply not a candidate when they come to elect future judges." His four-year mandate ends in May 1999, he explained. The UN General Assembly is due to appoint nine judges this year. Aspegren reiterated his discontent with the Tribunal's administration but he refused to comment on a statement from the ICTR on Tuesday which criticised the judge personally.
UN enquiry team arrives in Zambia
A four-man team from the UN International Commission of Enquiry on arms flows in the Great Lakes region arrived in Zambia yesterday to discuss alleged arms shipments to Rwanda, AFP reported. The mission leader, Mahmoud Kassim, said the visit did not implicate Zambia which has pledged full cooperation with the investigation.
Troops back from DRC
About 100 Rwandan troops, told to leave DRC by President Laurent-Desire Kabila, arrived back in Kigali last night, news reports said. Rwandan army spokesman Emmanuel Ndahiro told Reuters they arrived by air but denied they had been expelled, reiterating that the two countries had agreed on the withdrawal. "You don't order somebody out who is leaving anyway," he was quoted as saying. He said Rwanda had reduced the number of its troops in DRC last September but a few had remained at Kabila's request. "But as we watched the situation evolve, we didn't think it would be in the interests of the Congolese or in our interests to have the RPA stay longer than a year, so we requested for our soldiers to leave," he said.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Minister warns againt Tutsi witch-hunt
Justice Minister Mwenze Kongolo yesterday cautioned against a witch-hunt of Tutsis in the country following the withdrawal of Rwandan troops. He told a news conference anyone found inciting ethnic hatred would be severely dealt with, adding that the government had noticed a surge in ethnic propaganda since the withdrawal announcement. According to Reuters, members of the presidential guard have been moving into luxury flats and houses formerly occupied by Rwandan commanders.
UNHCR signs cooperation accord with government
UNHCR and the government have signed a cooperation agreement aimed at boosting UNHCR operations in the country, particularly regarding access to thousands of Angolan refugees fleeing fighting in their country. A UNCHR press release on Tuesday described the task ahead as "huge", noting that DRC was currently hosting some 232,000 refugees from Sudan, Uganda, Angola, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo-Brazzaville. A vast repatriation programme was also underway for Congolese who had fled to neighbouring countries, especially Tanzania. UNHCR's Regional Director Pierce Gerety remarked that the agency and DRC had agreed to work together in alleviating the plight of refugees and their host communities.
UNITED NATIONS: UNHCR criticised, but some of the blame rests with governments
UN spokesman Fred Eckhard has said an article in the British 'Financial Times' on UNHCR's financial affairs is based on a draft report by external auditors. He told a press briefing yesterday it was unfair the draft had been leaked to the press before the final report could be submitted to the General Assembly. The newspaper article contains claims of dubious accounting and incompetent management within UNHCR, including allegations of excessive spending by top officials. But it noted that the international community is also to blame for not doing more to help UNHCR and voluntary agencies cope with the consequences of a huge refugee population worldwide. The newspaper says former Zaire illustrates the point, where it was well-known that Rwandan killers were being fed and sheltered in refugee camps. "But when the crunch came and international military intervention was needed to separate genuine refugees from armed militia, the outside world backed away," the 'Financial Times' said.
It cited UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski who said possible "petty-cash accounting problems and sloppy bookkeeping" did not undermine the agency "as a financially sound and accountable organisation". Eckhard also said a "full and robust" rebuttal by UNHCR could be expected.
SUDAN: US minister urges pressure on Khartoum government
US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan Rice has called on her government to put more pressure on the Sudanese authorities to change their policies. Addressing a joint hearing of two House International Relations subocmmittees, she noted USAID was providing US $4 million in development assistance to areas administered by Sudanese opposition groups, AP reported. "Too many Sudanese are going hungry largely becasue of indefensible government policies," she said. "We must continue our broader policy of pressuring (Sudan) to change fundamentally its behaviour."
Rice also said the US was considering delivering US $3.85 million worth of non-lethal defensive military assistance to Uganda this year to help it combat rebel insurgencies, particularly "Sudanese-sponsored aggression". "We are concerned that the (Ugandan) government's military response may not be enough," she said. "To date, it has not succeeded in eliminating the (Lord's Resistance Army) rebels."
UGANDA: US aid worker murdered in Kampala
Police are investigating the murder of a US aid worker who was found dead in her hotel room in Kampala, Ugandan radio reported. It said the body of the woman, who worked for the East African Minnesota Information Health Volunteers, was discovered by hotel employees. She had apparently put up a struggle against her attacker who stabbed her to death.
KENYA: One dead in Nairobi clashes
Muslim worshippers and hawkers clashed in Nairobi yesterday, after the traders' kiosks, known as Kigali market, were razed to the ground by the city council earlier in the week. Violence erupted after the traders tried to rebuild their stalls. Worshippers from the nearby Jamia Mosque, which claims to have bought the land formerly occupied by the traders' curio stalls, attacked the hawkers and burnt their reconstructed kiosks, according to Kenyan press reports. Police took several hours to restore order. KTN television said one person was confirmed dead and three others were critically injured in the fracas.
Anti-corruption boss suspended
President Daniel arap Moi has suspended the head of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority (KACA), John Harun Mwau, just days after he clashed with Finance Minister Simeon Nyachae over the attempted arrest of senior revenue officials. The 'Daily Nation' also reported that a tribunal has been set up to look into Mwau's actions. He remains suspended until the tribunal concludes its work.
UN launches campaign to stop violence against women
A march will be held through central Nairobi tomorrow to launch a UN inter-agency campaign to eliminate violence against women and children. The procession, ending at the Kenya National Theatre, kicks off from Uhuru Park at 09:15 after prayers and a welcome speech by Phoebe Asiyo, UNIFEM's goodwill ambassador. The official launching ceremony will take place at the National Theatre. The objective of the campaign is to raise awareness of issues leading to violence against women and find ways to address the problems.
Nairobi, 30 July 1998, 14.45 gmt
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Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 17:41:12 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 470 for 30 July 1998.7.30 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.980730173554.24495Wemail@example.com>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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