UN refugee chief leaves Bamako after talks on Guinea refugees
Lubbers held talks with Malian President Alpha Oumar Konare in Bamako, the last stop on his eight-day sweep through west Africa which took him to Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ivory Coast.
Konare is current head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is at the forefront of regional efforts to end fighting on Guinea's borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is concerned about the fate of more than 300,000 refugees from Sierra Leone and Liberia stuck in the southern Guinea war-zone.
Tens of thousands of local people have been displaced, with villages razed and crops left unharvested.
Fighting continues between the Guinean army and Sierra Leone rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) who have carried out numerous cross-border incursions.
The UNHCR is anxious that ECOWAS quickly carries out its decision to deploy some 1,700 troops on Guinea's tense borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Late Sunday Lubbers met with the heads of the IMF and the World Bank, Horst Kohler and James Wolfensohn, to discuss aid for projects specifically aimed at people affected by the Guinean crisis.
The two financial leaders are in Bamako for talks on Monday and Tuesday with leaders of more than a dozen African leaders on how best to promote development in the region.
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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 02/19/2001 04:13:15
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