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Reuters - Saturday, 12 June, 1999

LUSAKA, Zambia (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi Saturday arrived in the Zambian capital, traveling abroad for the first time since the sanctions against his country were suspended in April.

Gaddafi was met by President Frederick Chiluba with whom he was expected to hold talks on the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Gaddafi, seeking to emerge from a decade of international isolation following the suspected Libyan bombing of an American airliner over Scotland in 1988, arrived with his entourage in a fleet of six aircraft, including a chartered Egyptian plane.

He was dressed in a brown western-style suit, with 400 security staff, both female and male, at his side.

Ahead of his arrival, Chiluba told Reuters the two would hold talks later Saturday about a peace initiative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where President Laurent Kabila is battling Rwandan-backed rebels fighting to topple him.

Gaddafi is also scheduled to visit South Africa as President Nelson Mandela's last official guest from Sunday, with possible stops in other countries in the region.

Mandela, 80, hands the presidency to Thabo Mbeki, 56-year-old leader of the ruling African National Congress, at a ceremony in Pretoria Wednesday, which Gaddafi will attend.

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