TUNIS, Tunisia — Jimmy Carter's African summit on the twin crises in Rwanda and Burundi starts today despite ruffled feathers in the United Nations and protests from refugees and rebels who were not invited.
The Great Lakes summit, named after Central Africa's majestic waterways, is the former president's most ambitious attempt so far to lower tension in the region where the Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups are failing to cohabit peacefully.
The presidents of Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zaire have accepted invitations to join Carter at the summit being held through Monday in this North African seaport capital, officials of the Atlanta-based Carter Center say.
Neither the United Nations nor the Organization of African Unity was invited to take part, and their exclusion from Carter's first Great Lakes summit, in Cairo in November, still rankles.
The political pressure group for many of the 1.7 million Rwandan Hutu refugees in Zaire and Tanzania is also furious at being left out.