Burundi envoys meet FNL rebel leaders in Pretoria

Bujumbura- Burundi (PANA) -- Burundi government envoys and representatives of the rebel National Liberation Front on Monday held their first meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, to discuss the cessation of hostilities, the official radio reported in Bujumbura.
Without quoting, the radio said Monday that two Burundi army field officers and two diplomats from the president's office represented the government.
The radio did not reveal who represented the FNL at these talks held under the auspices of South African Vice-President, Jacob Zuma and which are expected to end Wednesday.
Zuma is playing the role of mediator on behalf of former South African President Nelson Mandela, who is undergoing treatment.
The FNL, the country's oldest armed movement (set up in the 1970s), openly says it is fighting for the cause of the majority ethnic group in Burundi, the Hutus.
Besides the FNL, there is also another Hutu rebel group, the Forces for the Defence of Democracy or FDD, which was created in 1993 after the assassination of Burundi's democratically elected Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye.
The FDD is particularly active in the interior while the FNL has concentrated its attacks in areas around Bujumbura, the Burundi capital.
Sources in Bujumbura talk about a possible short-term merger between these two rebel movements.

21 august 2001 13:33:00

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