Burundi's main rebel army, the Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD), says its leaders will meet former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg later this week for the first direct talks on the Burundian peace process, South African news reports said on Thursday.
A rebel spokesman said the group was satisfied with Mandela's role as the new mediator in the peace process. He was quoted as saying it would also reconsider the possibility of attending the peace talks in Arusha, Tanzania, if Mandela asked them to. The rebel army, led by Colonel Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukiye, has until now refused to join multi-party peace negotiations at Arusha, saying it would only deal directly with the Bujumbura government.
BOTSWANA: Miss Universe appointed Goodwill Ambassador
The UN Population Fund this week appointed Miss Universe, Mpule Kwelagobe, as its Goodwill Ambassador to Botswana. A citizen of Botswana, Kwelagobe has used her title to champion HIV/AIDS prevention, especially among adolescents.
According to the UN, Botswana has one of the world's highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates - with 25 percent of adults infected. Life expectancy fell from 61 years in the late 1980s to 47 today, and is expected to drop to 38 in the years 2005 - 2010.
SOUTHERN AFRICA: Britain tightens arms sales
British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced this week that his country would tighten arms export controls with immediate effect to countries involved in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Blair said Britain would not grant export licences for new equipment, even if it had civilian applications, "where there is a clear risk that it would be used in the DRC". "We will remove intervening countries from the coverage of open licences for any equipment that might be deployed in the DRC and will not issue new open individual export licences for such equipment to any of these countries," Blair was quoted as saying in news reports.
The countries involved in the DRC war are Namibia, Angola and Zimbabwe who are fighting on the side of Laurent-Desire Kabila's government, while Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda support the rebels fighting to overthrow Kabila's administration.
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