On April 29, 1997, Richardson spent the day shuttling between Mobutu and Kabila, who eventually agree to meet aboard a ship that the government of South Africa made available for direct negotiations. South African President Nelson Mandela also participated, acting as Mobutu’s escort. Mobutu privately agreed to leave the country, and Kabila promises to allow investigators from the UN and international relief organizations to have access to areas of Zaire where his Tutsi forces slaughtered Hutus.
However, Kabila failed to show up to the shipboard meeting and made additional demands in return for a peaceful transfer of power. The talks eventually take place with Mandela working to resolve the crisis. Within a week, Mobutu quits Zaire for good.
By June, Kabila installed himself as president of Zaire, which was renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo and reneged on his promise to allow international human rights investigators to inspect the country.
Ambassador Richardson returned to the country in October and secures another promise to allow inspections. While three inspectors are allowed in, they are confined to the capitol.