February 10, 1998 in Nation/World

Congo’s Cooperation Sought Clinton Sends Jesse Jackson To Negotiate With Kabila

Kamanga Mutond Associated Press
 

U.S. envoy Jesse Jackson told Congo on Monday that its hopes for foreign loans hinge on a U.N. investigation into massacres allegedly carried out by President Laurent Kabila’s troops.

Jackson, serving as President Clinton’s special representative to Africa, told journalists that World Bank funding depended on the probe, which U.N. officials say has been stalled by the government.

The U.N. team has been trying to investigate claims that Kabila’s Tutsi forces massacred thousands of Rwandan Hutu refugees during the seven-month war that toppled long-time dictator Mobutu Sese Seko last May.

Human rights officials say Rwandan Tutsis who fought for Kabila apparently sought revenge for the 1994 Hutu-led slaughter of some 500,000 Tutsis in Rwanda.

Jackson, who arrived in the capital, Kinshasa, after a visit to Kenya, said Congo’s human rights record was the government’s key to obtaining foreign assistance.

“The people of Congo have a right to see their human rights observed,” the U.S. civil rights leader said.

Jackson, who was expected to meet Kabila today, said the Congolese president had an “enormous task” in rebuilding the country formerly known as Zaire, which had deteriorated during 32 years of despotic rule by Mobutu.

Jackson said he also planned to meet opposition leaders before leaving the country Wednesday.

During an appearance in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, earlier Monday, Jackson urged President Daniel arap Moi to visit the central Rift Valley where at least 100 people have been killed and thousands displaced in politically motivated attacks.

Critics of Moi’s government say the attacks are aimed at punishing the Kikuyu, the country’s largest tribe, for voting for the opposition in December general elections. Jackson was also scheduled to meet with rebel leader-turned president Charles Taylor in Liberia, where elections last year spelled an end to a seven-year civil war started by Taylor.

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