BRUSSELS — The United States, France and Belgium demanded Wednesday that President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire transfer power to his rival, Etienne Tshisekedi.
The three powers announced their stand in a joint communique issued by Belgium's Foreign Ministry.
Foreign Minister Willy Claes said Mobutu "has the blood of more than 300 people on his hands." That number died in rioting that began last week in the capital of Kinshasa. Some Mobutu opponents in Zaire said at least 1,000 people have died.
Tshisekedi heads the transitional, pro-democracy government forced on Zaire by Western donors.
Belgium announced a meeting today in Brussels with France and the United States, who also back Prime Minister Tshisekedi, and Claes said he would seek the "total political and economic isolation" of Mobutu.
The ambassadors of the three nations transmitted the message to a high-level Mobutu aide, saying a transfer of power is the only way to get Zaire out of its current quagmire.
In a common statement, the envoys said the unrest "is the result of the lack of cooperation of President Mobutu with the transitional government, as well as his unwillingness to yield any authority."
"The only way to contain the dangerous developments is granting the (Tshisekedi) government . . . all powers," the statement said.
The unrest began last Thursday, when soldiers acting at Tshisekedi's behest refused to be paid in Mobutu's new 5-million-zaire notes--currency shopkeepers will not accept. The note is worth about $2.
Nationwide riots in late 1991 killed at least 250 people.