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Vol 41 No 1

Published 7th January 2000


More rumblings

In Congo-Kinshasa, there is a buzz about the plans of United States' diplomat Richard Holbrooke to hold a Congo summit in New York in late January. Holbrooke is US envoy to the United Nations and chairs the Security Council for the next six months. The idea, Congolese sources say but US sources won't confirm, is to bring several senior Congolese politicians, including President Laurent-Désiré Kabila, to agree on an implementation programme and supporting mechanisms for the Lusaka peace accord. The Congo mediator, Botswana's former President Ketumile Masire, would be expected to attend, to prepare the ground for Congo's internal dialogue. These plans, even if they win formal US backing, face two main snags: Kabila is unlikely to leave Congo, for fear of being toppled in a palace coup - and increasingly likely scenario. The combatants have still not accepted Masire as mediator because Botswana is seen as aligned with South Africa and because he doesn't speak French or any local language.

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