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  • Christine Chumbler
    I ve already sent a story similar to this, but note particularly the second to last paragraph. The thought of this amuses me greatly, for some reason...
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 14, 2002
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      I've already sent a story similar to this, but note particularly the second to last paragraph. The thought of this amuses me greatly, for some reason...

      African leaders appeal to Mugabe

      January 14, 2002 Posted: 6:38 AM EST (1138 GMT)

      BLANTYRE, Malawi -- Southern
      African leaders opened a summit in
      Malawi with an appeal for Zimbabwean
      President Robert Mugabe to ensure
      free and fair elections in March's
      presidential poll.

      Malawi President Bakili Muluzi began the
      one-day meeting of 14 African states in
      the Southern African Development
      Community with a call for Mugabe to
      resolve Zimbabwe's political and economic
      crisis.

      "As the date for the presidential elections
      in Zimbabwe has been announced, we are
      very hopeful that the elections will be
      peaceful, free, fair and transparent,"
      Muluzi said in an opening address to the
      SADC summit attended by Mugabe.

      "I hope that it will be so by allowing every
      Zimbabwean to participate effectively in the
      elections in the spirit of democratic principles and
      values which are within the framework of the SADC
      protocol," Muluzi said.

      SADC is under pressure to condemn Mugabe and
      even consider imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe.

      However, observers say a the group has a tradition
      of solidarity in the face of Western criticism. SADC leaders have previously ruled
      out sanctions against Zimbabwe.

      Mugabe, 77, arrived in Malawi on Saturday in a combative mood, accusing former
      colonial power Britain of trying to help the opposition into power in the March
      election.

      Also on the summit agenda were the wars in the Congo and Angola.

      Hopes of bolstering Congo's peace negotiations hit a snag even before the one-day
      summit got under way, when President Joseph Kabila declined to meet rebel groups
      who have been fighting to oust his government.

      The leaders of the rebel groups, the Congolese Rally for Democracy and the
      Congolese Liberation Movement, were invited to Malawi by Mozambican President
      Joachim Chissano, who heads SADC's regional security body.

      Kabila also objected to the leaders of Rwanda and Uganda -- which back the rebels
      -- attending the summit.

      The presence of foreign troops in Congo was "an injustice that has to be solved
      sooner than later," and three previous SADC meetings had failed to ensure they left,
      Kabila said on Sunday. "I hope we will be successful this time around."

      Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia also sent troops to back the Congolese government
      after war broke out in August 1998. A peace accord brokered in 1999 has been
      repeatedly violated.

      Nevertheless, SADC leaders were encouraged that Congo's war seemed to finally
      be drawing to a close, said Justin Malewezi, the Vice President of Malawi, which
      chairs SADC.

      Prospects for peace were considered slimmer in Angola, where a civil war, which
      began after the country gained independence from Portugal in 1975, has killed more
      than 500,000 people and displaced about 4 million others -- a third of the
      population. A four-year-old peace accord collapsed in 1998.

      Despite U.N. sanctions, UNITA rebels are still selling diamonds to fund their effort
      to overthrow the government, Malewezi said.

      "It is only when all loopholes for the sanctions busting are closed that UNITA's
      capacity to destabilise Angola will be decisively paralysed," he said.

      "Let's try at this very difficult time to assist, to take measures that will help us
      stabilise the situation," he said.

      Also on the summit's agenda are lectures by Harvard economics professor Jeffrey
      Sachs and Bono, the lead singer of the Irish rock band U2. The two will try and
      persuade the region's governments to spend more money fighting rampant AIDS
      and poverty.

      SADC comprises South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland,
      Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Mauritius, Seychelles, Angola, the Democratic Republic
      of Congo, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia.
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