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Dos Santos meets Southern African leaders

Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos held talks on Wednesday with his Mozambique counterpart, Joaquim Chissano and South Africa’s foreign minister, Alfred Nzo, on ways of resolving tensions with neighbouring Zambia and the crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Officials told IRIN Nzo had conveyed a message from President Nelson Mandela suggesting that dos Santos and Zambian President Frederick Chiluba discuss Angolan charges that Zambia had been providing arms to the Angolan UNITA rebel leader, Jonas Savimbi.

Although sources in Luanda and the South African capital, Pretoria, declined to discuss further details of the talks, an official Angolan television report on Wednesday evening said: “Nzo’s brief visit today was prompted by the latest developments in the DRC, relations between Angola and Zambia, and the situation in Southern Africa in general.” It also cited Mandela’s concern for the security of the DRC’s neighbours and the implementation of a ceasefire in that country.

The officials said Chissano, in his role as vice-president of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), spent more than five hours discussing the same issues with dos Santos as part of a regional shuttle trip which had already taken him to Zambia, Uganda and the DRC capital, Kinshasa.

In a brief Angolan television interview, dos Santos, was asked whether he would accept an invitation to meet Chiluba. He said: “Such a meeting is always welcome, but there are serious problems to resolve. We have reiterated Zambia’s involvement in the process of destabilising Angola, and even said that Zambia was taking part in an aggression against Angola. We would, therefore, only attend a meeting if we could see changes in the attitude of the government of Zambia and its president.”

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:

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