Report: S. Africa Brokers Congo Peace Deal
South Africa's next president will announce at his inauguration this week that he has brokered a peace deal for the civil war in Congo and that South African troops will serve as peacekeepers, according to a magazine report.
Thabo Mbeki, who is expected to be elected South African president today at a National Assembly meeting, will unveil a "provisional" agreement aimed at ending the bloodshed in the former Zaire when he is sworn into office Wednesday, Newsweek reports in its June 21 edition, available today.
South African troops will be deployed in Congo to implement the peace agreement and supervise diamond sales from Mbuji Mayi, the magazine said. Mines near the southern city are the main source of income for Congo, and rebels have captured several nearby towns in recent weeks.
The report did not quote Congolese President Laurent Kabila or the rebels, but suggested all sides had signed on to the proposal. Friday, however, Kabila called for a "total war" against Rwanda.
Rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda have waged a 10-month insurgency to oust Kabila, whom they accuse of corruption, mismanagement and ethnic warmongering in the vast and mineral-rich but impoverished central African nation.
Mandela Welcomes Libya's Gadhafi
CAPE TOWN -- South African President Nelson Mandela welcomed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi as his last official guest. Gadhafi is on his first foreign tour since U.N. sanctions against Tripoli were suspended in April and will stay in South Africa until Wednesday to attend the inauguration of Mandela's successor, Thabo Mbeki, in Pretoria.
N. Korea Agrees to Meet U.N. Over Dispute
SEOUL -- North Korea agreed to meet with U.N. observers to discuss a military standoff with South Korea over a contested area in the Yellow Sea.
The meeting with representatives of the U.N. Command, which monitors the demilitarized zone dividing the Korean peninsula, could take place as early as tomorrow, North Korea said in a message to command headquarters at Panmunjom.
Chinese Dissident Seeks Asylum in U.S.
SHANGHAI -- A veteran Chinese dissident flew to the United States to seek asylum, joining a growing number of democracy activists driven into exile by China's communist government.
Zhou Jianhe, a 50-year-old shipyard worker, was one of the last active democracy campaigners in Shanghai and was detained by police twice last year.
Jakarta Warns Peace Laureate Against Return
DILI, Indonesia -- Indonesia's Foreign Ministry warned East Timor's Nobel peace laureate, Jose Ramos Horta, not to return to his homeland to participate in an independence vote, saying a visit could trigger violence.
Pope Returns in Triumph to Victory Square
WARSAW -- Pope John Paul II returned in triumph to the square where he began his crusade against communism 20 years ago, telling
1 million of his countrymen that God had answered their prayers.
The 79-year-old pontiff, his head still bandaged from a cut received in a fall a day earlier, looked and sounded tired. But his words received repeated applause from the attentive crowd, the largest since the start of his pilgrimage nine days ago.
The nearly three-hour Mass was held in the former Victory Square where -- on his first trip as pope back to his then-communist homeland in 1979 -- John Paul ended his homily with a prayer for the Holy Spirit to "renew the face" of Poland.
11 Police Injured in N. Ireland Rioting
BELFAST -- Eleven police officers were injured in rioting overnight in the Northern Ireland town of Portadown, a long-running flashpoint between Protestants and Roman Catholics, police said.
Four people were arrested and several police and military vehicles were damaged, a police spokesman said.
THE MIDDLE EAST
Israel Bars Munich Suspect From West Bank
JERUSALEM -- Israel banned Abu Daoud, a guerrilla turned- Palestinian official who has said he masterminded a deadly assault on Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich in 1972, from entering the West Bank.
The ban, which followed reports that Germany last week issued a warrant for Abu Daoud's arrest, enraged Palestinians, who said the sides had agreed to exempt from prosecution violent acts that predated Israeli-Palestinian peace accords.
"It's an illegal decision and even contravenes Israeli laws," Abu sk,3 "It's an illegal decision and even contravenes Israeli laws," Abu Daoud told Reuters in Amman. Abu Daoud, whose real name is Mohammed Oudeh, said he would contest in Israeli courts the decision to prevent his return to the West Bank town of Ramallah.
Christian Group Apologizes for Crusades
GAZA CITY -- After hundreds of years, a group of Christians from the West paid a visit to the Gaza Strip to offer apologies to descendants of Muslim victims of the Crusades.
"We deeply regret the atrocities committed in the name of Christ by our predecessors," read a message delivered to a Palestinian cabinet minister by 14 members of the Reconciliation Walk group of evangelical Christians mainly from Europe and North America.
The group begged forgiveness for the violence of 11th-13th century military expeditions mobilized by Western Christendom to try to capture holy places under Muslim control.
Israel to Free General Jailed for Fraud
JERUSALEM -- Israel's army said it would free a former air force general who has served only two-thirds of a 13-year sentence for a multimillion dollar arms-purchasing scandal involving U.S. contracts. An army communique said Rami Dotan would be released on June 27 after fewer than nine years in prison.
Dotan, former air force procurement chief, pleaded guilty in 1991 to 12 counts, including fraud, bribe-taking and breach of trust in connection with phony arms purchases from the United States, Israel's main arms supplier.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"What the hell are you doing here? Get on to your commanders and get out of here now."
British Brig. Adrian Freer, commander of the 5th Airborne Brigade, to Russian paratroops. -- Page A1