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Congo Rebel Leader: No Cease-Fire

November 29, 1998

KABALO, Congo (AP) _ The leader of Congo’s main rebel group said Sunday no cease-fire will be possible without him, and he vowed to continue fighting President Laurent Kabila until he negotiates peace directly with the insurgents.

``In principle, we are supporting cease-fire initiatives followed by political negotiations,″ Ernest Wamba dia Wamba said. ``But without us, no cease-fire is possible. Who is going to implement it?″

On Saturday, presidents of Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Congo agreed to a truce during a meeting in Paris. It is to be signed at Congolese peace talks starting Dec. 9 in Lusaka, Zambia.

The rebels were not invited to the Paris talks.

So far, Kabila has refused to negotiate directly with the rebels, instead demanding that Rwanda and Uganda first end their support for the insurgents and leave Congo. Both countries have said they will stay as long as Congo remains unstable.

Zimbabwe, Angola, Chad and Namibia have sent troops, tanks and jet fighters in support of Kabila.

It was quiet Sunday at the southern front line at Kabalo, 185 miles south of the eastern rebel stronghold at Goma. Zimbabwean war planes combed the skies, sending rebels into abandoned huts and thick forest for cover.

There were no attacks.

Wamba, speaking from Bunia on the border with Uganda, said he welcomed the commitments to a cease-fire. But he said they can succeed only if the rebels are included and if Kabila agrees to talk to them.

``We don’t want to waste any more lives,″ he said. ``But the cease-fire can be successful only if all the belligerents are included. And that includes us.″

He said he was not consulted about the agreement reached in Paris.

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