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Zairean rebel hopes peace talks are close

The Zairean rebel leader Laurent Kabila, in South Africa for talks on ending fighting in his country, said he hoped direct negotiations with President Mobutu Sese Seko's government could start soon.

Speaking after meeting South African President Nelson Mandela, Mr Kabila said any chance for a ceasefire depended on setting up talks with Mr Mobutu's government. Asked if a ceasefire was imminent, he answered: "No ceasefire. We are close to the negotiations. We haven't yet discussed it with them."

Honore Ngbanda, nephew and security adviser of President Mobutu, was also in South Africa, where the US-led talks continued. No face-to- face meeting has occurred so far between the warring parties. AP - Johannesburg