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IRIN Update No. 529 Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 22 October 1998)
BURUNDI: Arusha talks end, next round slated for January
The third round of peace talks ended in Arusha, Tanzania, today (Thursday) and a fourth round will resume on 18 January 1999, the independent Hirondelle news agency reported. No communique was issued. The Nyerere Foundation, which is sponsoring the peace process, said the next round of talks would focus on reconstruction and development and on proposals put forward by three working commissions. The commissions - on the nature of the conflict; democracy and good governance; and peace and security - will meet ahead of the January session.
The three commissions will be headed respectively by Armando Emilio Guebuza, president of Mozambique's ruling FRELIMO party; Professor Nicholas Haysom representing South African Judge Richard Goldstone; and Padre Mateo Zuppi of the San Egidio community.
A fourth commission on reconstruction and development is due to be chaired by Georg Lenkin of Austria's development ministry and a fifth commission on respecting future peace accords has yet to be formed, Hirondelle said.
Annan appoints senior UN adviser to peace process
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced he had appointed a senior UN adviser to the peace process mediator, former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere. In a letter to the Security Council, Annan named the adviser as Ayite Jean-Claude Kpakpo of Benin. Anna stressed the "renewed importance" of the Burundi peace process and the UN's support for the talks. He said the last two rounds of talks had been positive, as was the internal partnership in Burundi between the government and opposition parties.
Rwandan paper says region profiting from sanctions
A private Rwandan newspaper, the 'Newsline', says regional countries are reluctant to lift the economic embargo on Burundi because they are benefiting financially from the sanctions. According to the IPS news agency, the newspaper quoted a report by Burundi's customs department which said regional exports to Burundi had "grown tremendously" since the embargo was imposed over two years ago. Rwanda's exports had increased from US $250,000 in 1996 to US $2 million in 1997, the report said. For Uganda, exports had increased by 94 percent between 1996 and 1997. "These fresh evidences clearly show that regional countries are keeping the sanctions to create avenues for their local market," the 'Newsline' said.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Fighting reported around Mbuji-Mayi
The rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) today reported fighting around the diamond-rich city of Mbuji-Mayi in Kasai province, according to news organisations. In a statement over Goma radio, the RCD said the rebels were pitted against government troops in the city where President Laurent-Desire Kabila had "piled up arms". The radio further accused Kabila of deploying 7,000 Hutu militiamen in Mbuji-Mayi, led by Augustin Bizimungu, the former commander-in-chief of the Rwandan army during the 1994 genocide. Bizimungu is wanted in Rwanda and by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in connection with the genocide.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean planes have redeployed from Kinshasa to Kananga in Kasai province, AFP reported quoting private aviation sources in the town. The move follows an announcement by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe yesterday that countries supporting Kabila would launch an offensive in the east.
Kabila appoints new military chief
Kabila has appointed Commandant Eddy Kapend as his new chief-of-staff, replacing his son Joseph who has been interim military chief since August, DRC radio reported today. State television on Tuesday issued a reminder that the Kinshasa night curfew remained strictly in force and said all unauthorised gatherings were banned.
FAO distributes seeds in the Kivus
FAO says it distributed badly-needed seeds and hoes for the 1999A season in the Kivus last month. An FAO official told IRIN today 97 mt of bean seeds had been distributed via NGOs in the Kabare, Walungu and Mwenga areas, near Bukavu. Some 19 mt of peanuts, 20 mt of bean seeds, and 570 kg of vegetable seeds as well as 20,000 hoes were distributed in the Rutshuru, Masisi and Goma areas of North Kivu. The distributions, which were planned before the conflict broke out in August, have been carried out with available stocks in eastern DRC. The official added that plans were underway to address the seed shortage in the Uvira region. The FAO had earlier warned that population displacement and interruption of farming activities resulting from the conflict would create severe food shortages in the coming months.
CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Rail closure disrupts WFP plans
A WFP mission is currently in Pointe-Noire to assess the storage and forwarding conditions in the port city, in view of the continued suspension of railway traffic to Brazzaville, the latest WFP weekly emergency report said. The rail line has been closed since late September due to violence in the Pool region. The suspension came at a time when WFP was planning to transfer 3,150 mt of food supplies from Pointe-Noire to Brazzaville, from where it would be transported to neighbouring Kinshasa in the DRC, the report said.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Military registration underway
The Central African Republic's defence ministry has launched an operation to register all members of its military and gendarmerie forces, AFP reported yesterday. The move forms part of the restructuring of the CAR armed forces, provided for in the 1997 Bangui accords which put an end to three successive army mutinies in 1996. Meanwhile, France has sent a another contingent of 80 men to join the UN mission in CAR (MINURCA) which has recently been charged with assisting in the legislative elections slated for November and December.
AFRICA: African peace situation "ambivalent"
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said there is a growing determination by Africans to find solutions to the continent's problems, but that the peace and security situation remain "ambivalent". Speaking in Japan on the last day of the Second Tokyo International Conference for African Development, Annan said he was particularly troubled by conflicts based on regional or ethnic identities and a lack of respect for humanitarian and human rights norms. States interfering in political, military and security problems beyond their borders were creating a spillover effect, with conflict in one country jeopardising progress in neighbouring peaceful states, Annan said. The main challenges in Africa remained poverty reduction and integration into the global economy, Annan added.
Nairobi, 22 October 1998, 14:00 gmt
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Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 16:54:16 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 529 for 22 Oct 1998.10.22 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.981022165255.28077Temail@example.com>
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar, firstname.lastname@example.org