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African Leaders Call for Congo Cease-Fire, Aid Corridors


Leaders of Africa's Great Lakes region have called for an immediate cease-fire and the creation of aid corridors in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

At the summit in Nairobi Friday, Congo's president, Joseph Kabila, met with his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged them to continue their dialogue.

The two leaders have traded accusations over the recent fighting, which continued today near a camp for displaced people, just north of the eastern city of Goma.

Congo's government accuses Rwanda of backing the ethnic Tutsi rebels. Rwanda says Congo's army does nothing to disarm extremist Hutus who were responsible for Rwanda's 1994 genocide and are now based in eastern Congo.

A new rebel offensive started last month, causing tens of thousands of civilians to flee homes and displacement camps.

Rebel leader Laurent Nkunda has dismissed the regional talks in Nairobi, saying there should be an inter-Congolese dialogue instead.

He also says soldiers from Angola are fighting alongside Congo's army. A Uruguayan U.N. commander is quoted by foreign news agencies as saying some of the troops reinforcing Congo's army along front lines are Angolans.

But other U.N. officials have denied any knowledge of foreign troops. A U.N. official says some Congolese troops have been trained in Angola, and speak Portuguese, and may have been mistaken for Angolans.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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