• Short Summary

    President Joseph Mobutu of Congo-Kinshasa recently arrived in Lusaka at the start of a three-day visit to zambia and talks with President Kenneth Kaunda.

  • Description

    President Joseph Mobutu of Congo-Kinshasa recently arrived in Lusaka at the start of a three-day visit to zambia and talks with President Kenneth Kaunda.

    He was met at the airport by President Kaunda, cabinet ministers and a cheering crowd of several thousand.

    The Congolese leader, on his fourth visit to Zambia, was expected earlier this year but postponed the trip. President Kaunda disclosed that his guest had been ill.

    Officials declined to say what the two leaders would discuss during the visit, but it was reported that the forthcoming non-aligned summit in Lusaka was high on the agenda.

    First talks between the two leaders came at Kitwe, President Mobutu's second stop during the tour. Reports said the private talks dealt mainly with trade and defence matters and also sought out difficulties encountered in trade traffic across their common borders.

    Another subject reported to be discussed by the leaders was relations between Nigeria and Zambia following the collapse of rebel Biafra.

    After the talks trade officials disclosed that Zambia was negotiating for the Con go to take coal from its newly-opened coal mines. Zambia recently opened up a potentially rich coal-producing mine in the southern part of the country which would greatly reduce both countries' dependence on Rhodesian coal.

    Between talks in Kitwe President Mobutu was guest of honour at a lunch given by Zambia's copper mining companies. At the luncheon he called for co-operation between native workers and foreigners employed in the Congo and other developing African countries.

    "We have the natural resources, but we have no skilled labour and capital necessary to exploit our resources". he said.

    During his visit to Kitwe President Mobutu was made a Freeman of the city by Mayor Raphael Mwale at a colourful ceremony in Kitwe's Bucchi hall.

    President Mobutu's next stop in Zambia was Ndola. At an airport press conference there he discussed his talks with President Kaunda. He dismissed speculation that he had tried to act as mediator between nigeria and Zambia and said his visit was basically to discuss with President Kaunda problems affecting their two countries.

    "We have found solutions to our common problems," he said. The Congolese President particularly described as useful his discussions with President Kaunda on the operation of Zambia and Congo-Kinshasa's common border post at Mokambo.

    President Mobutu also said his host, President Kaunda had agreed to visit Cong-Kinshasa within the next few months.

    The Congolese leader later flew to the southern Congolese town of Lubumbashi before returning to Kinshasa.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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