Burundi mediator Nelson Mandela is on the verge of announcing a major breakthrough in efforts to end the eight-year-old civil war in the small, densely populated central African country, officials said.
Mandela, following a diplomatic flurry last week, is expected to make the announcement at a forthcoming summit of all Great Lakes heads of state, Burundi presidential spokesman Appolinaire Gahungu told reporters late Saturday.
The former president of South Africa had first, however, to put his proposed solution to the protracted and complicated Burundi crisis to other partners in the peace process, Gahungu said.
"But Mandela is optimistic on all fronts," he added, speaking at the airport here on the return from South Africa of Burundi President Pierre Buyoya.
The president, who held extensive talks with Mandela in Johannesburg Thursday and Friday, told reporters the mediator had assured him "he was optimistic that in the coming days we will have a solution to the outstanding issues – BUJUMBURA (AFP)