The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Military

DATE=6/27/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-251160 TITLE=ZAMBIA/TALKS (L) BYLINE=JOHN PITMAN DATELINE=LUSAKA, ZAMBIA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: CONGOLESE PEACE TALKS TOOK AN IMPORTANT STEP FORWARD (SUNDAY) AS NEGOTIATORS AGREED ON A DRAFT CEASE-FIRE ACCORD. THE DRAFT IS NOW BEING CONSIDERED BY REGIONAL FOREIGN AND DEFENSE MINISTERS, WHOSE APPROVAL IS NECESSARY BEFORE THE CEASE-FIRE CAN BE SIGNED BY THE HEADS OF STATE INVOLVED IN THE CONFLICT. CORRESPONDENT JOHN PITMAN HAS DETAILS FROM THE ZAMBIAN CAPITAL, LUSAKA, WHERE THE TALKS ARE BEING HELD. TEXT: THE END OF THE PRELIMINARY ROUND OF NEGOTIATIONS WAS ANNOUNCED (SUNDAY) BY ZAMBIA'S MINISTER OF PRESIDENTIAL AFFAIRS, ERIC SILWAMBA. HE SAID THE DRAFT CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT HAD BEEN GIVEN TO REGIONAL FOREIGN AND DEFENSE MINISTERS FOR FINAL CONSULTATIONS. MINISTERIAL MEETINGS WERE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE THROUGH MONDAY, RAISING HOPES A FORMAL SIGNING CEREMONY COULD COME AS EARLY AS TUESDAY. A COPY OF THE DRAFT CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT OBTAINED BY V-O-A LAYS OUT A FRAMEWORK FOR ENDING THE INTERNATIONAL MILITARY CONFLICT IN CONGO AND BEGINNING A FORMAL PROCESS OF DOMESTIC POLITICAL RECONCILIATION. ON THE MILITARY FRONT, THE DRAFT AGREEMENT CALLS FOR THE CEASE-FIRE TO GO EFFECT WITHIN 24-HOURS OF ITS SIGNING BY THE HEADS OF STATE. THE DRAFT DEFINES THE CEASE-FIRE AS AN END TO ALL ATTACKS ON LAND, SEA AND AIR, AS WELL AS ACTS OF SABOTAGE AND HOSTILE PROPAGANDA. VIOLATIONS WOULD INCLUDE ANY ATTEMPTS TO OCCUPY NEW POSITIONS, ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST CIVILIAN POPULATIONS, AND THE DELIVERY OF NEW REINFORCEMENTS, WEAPONS OR AMMUNITION. UNDER THE TERMS OF THE DRAFT AGREEMENT, THE WARRING SIDES WOULD AGREE TO FREEZE THEIR BATTLEFIELD POSITIONS, BUT MAKE A LIMITED PULL-BACK FROM THE FRONT LINES. THEY WOULD ALSO AGREE TO OPEN HUMANITARIAN CORRIDORS TO AID GROUPS AND ALLOW THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS TO ASSIST IN THE RELEASE OF PRISONERS OF WAR. ONE OF THE STICKING POINTS IN THESE NEGOTIATIONS HAD BEEN THE FATE OF FOREIGN TROOPS IN CONGO. UNDER THE DRAFT AGREEMENT, FOREIGN TROOPS WOULD BE ALLOWED TO STAY IN THE CONGO UNTIL AFTER THE DEPLOYMENT OF INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPERS. WHILE THE DRAFT AGREEMENT DOES NOT SET A TIMETABLE FOR THE WITHDRAWAL OF FOREIGN TROOPS, IT ASKS THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY TO PROVIDE MONITORS TO VERIFY THE CEASE-FIRE UNTIL THE PEACEKEEPERS CAN BE DEPLOYED. THE DRAFT AGREEMENT ALSO CALLS FOR THE WARRING PARTIES TO TAKE STEPS TO IMPROVE SECURITY ALONG CONGO'S EASTERN BORDER, INCLUDING THE CREATION OF A MECHANISM FOR DISARMING MILITIAS AND OTHER ARMED GROUPS OPERATING IN EASTERN CONGO. ON THE POLITICAL FRONT, THE DRAFT AGREEMENT SAYS THE CEASE-FIRE SHOULD LEAD TO THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF, WHAT IT CALLS -- STATE ADMINISTRATION THROUGHOUT THE CONGO. IT REMAINS UNCLEAR WHAT STATE ADMINISTRATION WOULD MEAN IN THE SHORT TERM, BUT THE AGREEMENT WOULD ALSO BIND THE KINSHASA GOVERNMENT TO BEGIN A DIALOGUE WITH THE ARMED REBELLION AND THE UNARMED POLITICAL OPPOSITION ON THE COUNTRY'S LONG-TERM POLITICAL CRISIS. THIS NATIONAL DEBATE WOULD BE MEDIATED BY A NEUTRAL FACILITATOR, WHO WOULD BE SELECTED BY ALL OF THE PARTICIPANTS. THE ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT SAID (SUNDAY) THE DRAFT AGREEMENT WAS BEING CIRCULATED TO THE MINISTERIAL DELEGATIONS, MOST OF WHICH HAVE ARRIVED IN LUSAKA. SOURCES SAY THERE IS WIDESPREAD AGREEMENT ABOUT THE CONTENTS OF THE DRAFT CEASE-FIRE DOCUMENT, BUT THE MINISTERS ARE NONETHELESS EXPECTED TO DO WHAT ONE OFFICIAL CALLED -- SOME FINE TUNING -- WHEN THEY MEET FORMALLY. (SIGNED) NEB/JP/ALW/RAE 27-Jun-99 11:12 AM EDT (1512 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list