South Africa + 3 more

Southern Africa: IRIN News Briefs, 15 Dec 1999

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SOUTH AFRICA: Foreign minister to visit Rwanda, Tanzania
South Africa said on Wednesday that Foreign Minister Nkosazana Zuma would travel to Rwanda to this week to sign a general agreement on bilateral cooperation between the South Africa and Rwanda governments.

Zuma will also visit Tanzania to attend the Ministerial Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa (CSSDCA). A statement by department said that Zuma was also likely to hold meetings on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), particularly violations of the Lusaka peace deal.

COMORO ISLANDS: Political crisis to be discussed in South Africa

Foreign ministers from southern Africa and Indian Ocean countries are to meet in South Africa next week to discuss the ongoing political crisis in the Comoro Islands, 'The Star' said on Wednesday.

It said that opposition leaders on the islands of Grand Comore and Anjouan would be also be invited to the meeting. Anjouan is seeking to breakaway from the Comoro archipelago. "We must try and invite as any people as possible from the Comoros to try and find a solution," Foreign Minister Nkosazana Zuma was quoted as saying.

There has been a political stalemate in the Comoro Islands since a coup in April. If democratic elections before June next year, the country could be expelled from the Organisation for African Unity (OAU). At the OAU summit in June, African leaders adopted a resolution not to accept regimes that had come to power through coups.

ANGOLA: Senior US official in Luanda

The United States Undersecretary of State, Thomas Pickering has arrived in Angola to meet with President Eduardo dos Santos and other senior government officials, media reports said on Wednesday.

Pickering was also expected to discuss Angola's civil war with the rebel UNITA movement and its involvement in the conflict in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo. Earlier this month US ambassador to the UN, Richard Holbrooke met with Dos Santos, President Sam Nujoma of Namibia and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as part of his 10-nation Africa tour.

ZIMBABWE: Catholic church criticises constitution

The Catholic Church in Zimbabwe has criticised the draft constitution saying that it is "fundamentally flawed", news reports said on Wednesday.

Bishop Patrick Mutume, president of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace was quoted as saying that the document contained sections that were dangerous. "By far its worst flaw is its blatant disregard for the views expressed by the majority of the people. It is a constitution which is much closer to what the ruling ZANU(PF) party wanted, rather than what the people wanted," Mutume was quoted as saying.

Political observers in the capital Harare said that Mutume's attack has damaged Mugabe's hope that Zimbabweans would support the constitution in a referendum which is expected to take place early next year. The chairman of the Zimbabwe Christian denominations, Reverend Murombedzi Kuchera, said: "We heads of denominations have no choice but to dissociate ourselves from the referendum and call for a rejection of the draft."

[ENDS]

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