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Delegations to continue peace talks on Thursday

Delegations from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda are due to hold security talks on Thursday in Pretoria, South Africa, chaired by South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma, an official in his office told IRIN.

The talks are to be a continuation of discussions held last week between presidents Joseph Kabila of the Congo and Paul Kagame of Rwanda, on the sidelines of the inaugural summit of the African Union in Durban, South Africa.

Central to those discussions - brokered by South African President Thabo Mbeki - was the issue of a security zone to be created along the border of Rwanda and the DRC to prevent incursions of Hutu rebels from the Congo into Rwanda.

While Kagame described those talks as having been "productive" and "constructive", differences remained over the technicalities of such a zone: Kabila's government wanted Rwandan forces in the Congo to withdraw to their own borders, while Rwanda wanted the buffer-zone line to be drawn within Congo, Radio France Internationale reported.

"What we want is a security curtain, consisting of UN troops on the border, with the Rwandans getting out of our country and staying on their side," AFP quoted DRC Foreign Minister Leonard She Okitundu as saying.

"To be able to pull out our troops, we need our security concerns addressed. Those concerns are why we went into the Congo," the BBC quoted Kagame as telling reporters.

Kagame added that he was willing to find a solution away from the battlefield, and said that these talks had made further talks on the situation possible, the BBC reported.

A statement is due to be issued following the meeting, Zuma's office said.

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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