- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 1, 2001

EU envoy rates talks on Congo as 'total failure'

LUANDA, Angola The first round of talks aimed at charting a new political future in Congo were a "total failure," the European Union special envoy to Africa's Great Lakes region said yesterday.

Aldo Ajello also told Angolan state radio that the process of disarming rebels and withdrawing foreign forces from Congo "is not moving forward." Mr. Ajello arrived in Luanda on Tuesday for talks about Congo with Angolan officials. The envoy said he was now searching for "initiatives" on Congo.

U.S. aides low-key on solution in Sudan

CAIRO U.S. officials visiting Cairo to work toward ending Sudan's 18-year civil war said yesterday that the newly appointed American envoy was not pushing a new peace initiative for Africa's largest country.

Charles Schneider, assistant secretary of state for African affairs, told reporters it would be up to the Sudanese parties to decide how to proceed with an east African peace bid offered in 1993 and a separate Egyptian-Libyan initiative.

Lions' future at risk in West, Central Africa

LONDON Lions could disappear from West and Central Africa in the next decade because their populations are fragmented and too small to survive, conservationists said yesterday.

A new report by a group of animal experts said the largest concentrations of lions consist of two groups of 200 lions each in Cameroon and along the borders of Senegal, Mali and Guinea. Other populations are as small as 50. In order for the animals to continue to exist without inbreeding, at least 100 breeding pairs, or 500 to 1,000 animals, are needed.

"For the next century, lions will not go extinct but they will be restricted to about a dozen national parks," said Hans Bauer of Leiden University in the Netherlands, one of 30 lion experts brought together by the World Conservation Union in June.

Western Cape NNP rejects ANC merger

CAPE TOWN, South Africa The party that ruled during the apartheid era faced a split in its ranks yesterday when its most important regional branch refused to back an impending merger with the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

The leader of the New National Party (NNP) in Western Cape, Gerald Morkel, announced that party officials in that province had distanced themselves from their leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk and his decision to quit the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).

Weekly notes

Ethiopia yesterday freed 23 more Eritrean prisoners of war under a peace pact signed last December, bringing to 880 the number it released since the signing of the peace accord by the two neighbors in June 2000. Last month, the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia, and Eritrea urged speeding up POW releases. A dozen South African Cabinet ministers were hospitalized for anthrax checks yesterday, and President Thabo Mbeki's office in Cape Town was cordoned off after two parcels containing a suspicious white powder were opened. Mr. Mbeki and Deputy President Jacob Zuma were not in the building.

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