DR Congo

Zaire peace envoy reports 'breakthrough' on aid for refugees

A Dutch peace envoy says the Zairean rebel leader, Laurent Kabila, is willing to open an humanitarian convoy to enable aid groups to reach refugees in territory controlled by his followers.
The Dutch Cooperation Minister, Jan Pronk, described the move as a breakthrough.

He was speaking in The Hague after returning from a visit to Zaire undertaken at the request of the United Nations secretary-general, Kofi Annan.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees have been uprooted by fighting in eastern Zaire, which has left the rebels in control of about one-fifth of the huge central African nation.

Mr Kabila said on Saturday he would accept a U-N peace plan which already has the backing of the government in Kinshasa.

But Mr Pronk said the rebel leader saw the plan as a basis for future negotiations and had ruled out an immediate ceasefire.

=A9 1996 Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Mon Mar 10 01:30:00 1997 ( AEDT )

AEDT = Australian Eastern Daylight Time which is 11 hours ahead of UTC (Greenwich Mean Time)

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