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South Africa reaffirms backing for Lusaka talks

South African Foreign Minister Alfred Nzo on Monday reaffirmed his country’s backing for Zambia’s efforts at seeking a negotiated solution to the crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In a press statement, Nzo said: “We remain committed to the need for all-inclusive negotiations as the only recipe for sustainable peace in that country. Our involvement here must not be seen as a series of high profile events, but rather as part of a drawn-out process.” His remarks followed five days of talks in the Zambian capital Lusaka which ended at the weekend. Officials told IRIN the talks involving representatives of the foreign and defence ministries of Angola, Zambia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Namibia, DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, as well as the UN, the OAU and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), had ended inconclusively. But the talks, aimed at “establishing the modalities of a ceasefire” would resume “within weeks” and would be followed, as planned, by a summit of regional leaders, the officials said. In his statement on Monday, Nzo said there could not be “a long term military solution”. “We must exhaust the negotiation option and in this regard we will continue to support the efforts of (Zambian) President (Frederick) Chiluba. A ceasefire is our most immediate objective.”

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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