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Thursday, 21 December, 2000, 15:26 GMT
Congo talks postponed

Rebels want to oust President Kabila
Talks on the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo scheduled for Thursday in the Gabonese capital, Libreville, are reported to have been postponed due to the absence of the main rebel and opposition groups, say officials there.

Democratic Republic of Congo President Laurent Kabila arrived earlier in the day, but correspondents had been warnign that major decisions would be impossible without the main rebel groups attending the talks.

The rebels, backed by Rwanda and Uganda, are fighting the government forces, which are supported by Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola.

Officials are trying to reorganise the talks for next month.

The war in DR Congo has often been dubbed Africa's world war because so many African countries have been drawn into it.

Fighting

Despite an agreed cease-fire, fighting continues to rage in the south-east.

President Frederick Chiluba
President Chiluba: Concerned Zambia could get dragged in to the conflict
Thousands of Congolese army soldiers and civilians have fled rebel advances and gone over the border into Zambia.

The United Nations refugee agency, the UNHCR, says up to 300 refugees a day are continuing to cross into Zambia. Earlier this month Congolese rebels. seized two southern towns, Pweto and Pepa.

A top official in the Zambian ministry of home affairs has warned of the danger of fighting spilling over into Zambia and the Zambian Government has stationed more than 7,000 soldiers in the area on high alert because of the potentially volatile situation.

There have also been reports recently of continuing clashes in the north-east between the rival Hema and Lendu peoples.

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See also:

15 Dec 00 | Africa
Rights group warns on DR Congo
08 Dec 00 | Africa
Zambia wants Zimbabwe troops out
06 Dec 00 | Africa
DR Congo deal signed
23 Aug 00 | Africa
Kabila rejects Lusaka accord
30 Jun 00 | Africa
Timeline: DR Congo conflict
30 Jun 00 | Africa
Congo's unhappy birthday
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