Rwanda: July 19, 2003

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As their offensive appeared to subside in Bujumbura's outlying areas, FNL Hutu rebels issued a statement that asked Nelson Mandela to participate in Burundian peace negotiations. This looks like a diplomatic attempt by the FNL to gain as much negotiating leverage as possible from the military offensive -- the old "fire arrows then offer an olive branch" gambit, with the twist of trying to get a globally-recognized figure to acknowledge your side's political heft.. If Mandela accepts the FNL "request," the FNL's negotiating stature immediately improves, ie, the FNL would claim that it "returned the Nobel Peace Prize winner to the Burundian peace process." Mandela, however, is wise to the strategy. Stay tuned. (Austin Bay)

 

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