Congo move on massacre inquiry

Facing a United Nations ultimatum to co-operate with a massacre investigation team, a Congo-Zaire official insisted that the mission already had full access to the country.

"No one is putting the brakes on your mission," Etienne-Richard Mbaya, minister of reconstruction and emergency planning, told the team. "Your mission can begin today. You can go where you want."

He added that the panel, led by Atsu Koffi Amega of Togo, could meet President Laurent Kabila today.

The government and the UN team were to agree later yesterday on a date to visit the sites of reported massacres.

On Tuesday the UN Secretary- General, Kofi Annan, threatened to withdraw the team within 48 hours because Congo officials repeatedly barred the team from certain areas since August.