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    The Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko has formally opened the people's palace in Zaire. The?

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    The Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko has formally opened the people's palace in Zaire. The centre was built with help from the Chinese government, and a delegation from Peking also attended the ceremony.

    SYNOPSIS: Zaire has close relations with China. After his visit in June 1978, Chinese Foreign Minister Huang Hua praised President Mobutu for safeguarding national independence against Soviet imperialism - a reference to last year's unsuccessful (1978) Shaba uprising for which President Mobutu blamed the Soviet Union. But the Zairean President does not rely exclusively on his relations with China. Many other countries share close ties with the mineral-rich central African state.

    The Zairean leader presided at the inauguration of the palace, cut the ceremonial ribbon and declared the building open. President Mobuto and his Chinese guests then inspected the three thousand five hundred-seat congress hall. The building is situated near the Zaire river and also houses conference and banqueting halls, a cinema and nine smaller halls.

    Chinese engineers played an important role in building the people's palace as part of an economic and technical co-operation agreement between China and Zaire. President Mobutu told the audience the impressive building embodied the friendship between the two countries and their peoples.

    President Mobutu has recently ended talks with a group of twelve industrialised nations which have pledged aid for the ailing Zaire economy. Inflation has brought rapid food price rises, and the slump of world prices has hit the copper industry which earns most of the country's foreign exchange. The International Monetary Fund has agreed on stand-by credit of one hundred and fifty million dollars, but proposes stringent conditions on the loan.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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