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Africa Leaders Agree to Congo Cease-Fire

January 19, 1999| From Reuters

WINDHOEK, Namibia — Leaders of African countries involved in the civil war in Congo have agreed to sign a cease-fire to end five months of fighting, Namibian President Sam Nujoma said Monday.

But rebels battling Congolese President Laurent Kabila's army were skeptical about a breakthrough. Neither Kabila nor the rebels were invited to the Windhoek meeting, officials said.

"The parties have agreed to sign a cease-fire," Nujoma told reporters in the Namibian capital after two hours of talks with leaders from Zimbabwe, Uganda, Rwanda and Angola.

Namibia, Zimbabwe, Chad and, at least until recently, Angola have been fighting alongside Kabila to ward off a rebellion backed by Rwanda and Uganda.

Congolese rebel leader Arthur Zahidi Ngoma played down the reported breakthrough, saying there could be no agreement without direct talks between the rebels and Kabila.

"It is not [primarily] a conflict between subregional states. It's an internal conflict," he said when told about the reported cease-fire agreement.

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