DRC/Rwanda-Sign deal.

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    As was forseen by other recent articles the deal between DRC and Rwanda was signed.Is this the sign for sellers to stop the dump?Not many through today and up slightly.

    Kabila And Kagame Sign Ambitious Congo Peace Deal

    July 30, 2002
    Posted to the web July 30, 2002

    Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

    South African President Thabo Mbeki described the signing Tuesday of a highly ambitious peace accord between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda as "a bright day for the African continent."

    The idea is that the agreement will be the key to unlock the impasse in the chequered peace process in central Africa and end the war that has engulfed Congo and at least six of its neighbours.

    No one present at the elaborate signing ceremony in the South African capital, Pretoria, was in any doubt that what could be the beginning of a gradual process would be fraught with difficulties and challenges for the Great Lakes region.

    Closing the proceedings, witnessed by four African presidents, representatives from the United Nations and the African Union, as well diplomats and his government ministers, Mbeki added, philosophically: "We are going to make certain that indeed the sun does not set on us".

    Rwanda and Congo both pledged to stick to their side of the bargain. Rwanda has agreed to withdraw its troops - estimated to number between 20 and 40 thousand -- from Congolese territory. The DRC, in turn, undertook to disarm and repatriate Rwandan Hutu 'Interahamwe' militias and former soldiers that Rwanda holds responsible for the genocide in 1994.

    The two sides have 90 days to comply with the accord, a timeframe analysts say is unrealistic.

    Reminding the assembled dignitaries that the DRC shared borders with nine other countries, which felt the immediate impact of regional strife, the Congolese president, Joseph Kabila, said: "There is a time for war, there is also a time for peace. No more blood must flow".

    "Today must be considered a great day for the whole of Africa, because one less conflict on the continent means one further step towards the sustainable development that this continent needs so much," Kabila said.

    Kabila's Rwandan counterpart, and erstwhile ally, President Paul Kagame said his government was committed to ensuring that the peace and security pact signed in Pretoria was honoured and implemented, so that it could help resolve the four-year war in the Great Lakes region.

    Kagame called Tuesday's deal a "big step" and appealed for international backing to help ensure its success. "If they come on board and support these efforts, we shall be able to move forward," he said.

    Addressing the issue of foreign involvement in the region, Kagame said: "It is important that since some of them (countries) have historically been part of the problem, they cannot escape the responsibility of being part of the solution… there has been more paying of lip service to finding the solutions to these problems than actually applying these capacities, building on the goodwill that we are trying to build."

    Goodwill was in abundance in Pretoria on Tuesday, but skeptics were wary, sounding a warning that the way forward was still strewn with potential pitfalls and dead ends before Africa's first continental conflict could be resolved.

    John Stremlau, an American political scientist who is professor of international relations at the Witswatersrand Univerity in Johannesburg, praised the Pretoria peace accord as a step forward. But he also expressed reservations. "Congo is the most difficult to resolve of Africa's conflicts. It is complex and involves many players and requires other simultaneous diplomatic engagements to work out", he said. "But having a peace framework is a key factor".

    The bilateral peace deal signed in Pretoria on Tuesday was strictly between Rwanda and the DRC and did not include the legion other factions and foreign armies involved in the war in Congo. But there was a positive and immediate international reaction to the agreement.

    "There will be ups and downs in the implementation of the agreement, but I am relying on the determination of the government, the people of Congo and the people of the region", Kabila said during the ceremony.

    Echoeing the widely-held mood in Pretoria on Tuesday, Kagame declared: "Our final objective is to enable the people of Congo and the people of Rwanda and the rest of the region to live together in peace as has been before".

    Kabila Says He Wants Peace and Will Get It


    July 31, 2002
    Posted to the web July 31, 2002

    Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

    The president of the Democratic Republic of Congo says he is optimistic about the latest South African and United Nations' brokered peace initiative to end the war in his country, which has sucked in half a dozen of Congo's neighbours.

    Interviewed on Tuesday after signing a peace agreement with Rwanda, Joseph Kabila said he sensed a new political commitment by Rwandan and other leaders to end Africa's biggest and most complex conflict.

    Congo and Rwanda -- which backs the biggest rebel group in the DRC -- have been at war for the past four years. Tuesday's agreement calls for the eventual withdrawal of Rwandan troops from Congo. Kabila's government has pledged to round up, disarm and repatriate Congo-based Rwandan Hutu militias and former soldiers, accused by Kigali of carrying out the genocide of 1994.

    Kabila said he would be holding regular meetings with his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, the other signatory to the Pretoria pact.

    The interview was conducted AllAfrica's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton and Reuters correspondent Manoah Esipisu. Excerpts from answers given by Kabila at an earlier joint news briefing are included.

    President Kabila, you seem confident about the possibilities for peace after signing an agreement with Rwanda.

    I sense that this time there is a genuine commitment by the political leaders to ensure that we succeed in reaching our aim of peace. The people of the Great Lakes region will be granted their peace reward. I shall play my part to ensure that peace succeeds.

    Is four months long enough to implement everything you have agreed and to disarm and repatriate the Rwandan Hutu militias and former Rwandan troops (ex-FAR)?

    It's three months, it's three months. As I've said, every month-end we, the heads of state, shall meet on a rotational basis, in Kigali (the Rwandan capital), Kinshasa (DRC capital) and maybe here (in Pretoria, the South African capital) to review progress and to ensure that we stay on course.

    So we've reached an agreement that we will be meeting in order to assess developments and the evolution of the whole process, and I believe at the end of each and every month we will be able to say whether more time is needed and whether we are still on track. So I don't see any problems with the follow up.

    These meetings will take stock of what is happening, where we are heading, where we are doing wrong and what we need to fix. So people must have the will and people should be committed. We will ensure that the (peace) pact is implemented and any obstacles quickly removed.

    People should be committed and realise that it is peace we want and it is peace we shall get.

    What is your response to accusations that some of these Rwandan Interahamwe and ex-FAR have been integrated into the regular Congolese army and will be hard to identify and repatriate?

    I'll clarify that.

    First of all, we don't have any 'Interahamwe' or ex-FAR in the Congolese armed forces. That's untrue and baseless, and we are ready to prove that. We are ready to prove that to anybody who cares to come and look. That's point one.

    Two: be they 'Interahamwe', be they ex-FAR who seem to say that they don't want to go back to Rwanda etc, I'd like to tell you that apart from those who have been armed and those who have been disarmed, we have got more or less 6,000 of them civilians (according to them) who are now living as refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    According to the agreement we have just signed, the third party (United Nations and South Africa in its dual capacity as facilitator of the peace talks and chair of the African Union), they will come to the areas that are under the control of the government and verify the presence of all Rwandese citizens, Rwandese armed elements who are there, and I believe the proper procedures will be followed in repatriating them to Rwanda.

    So, we will cross the bridge when we reach the bridge.

    There will be ups and downs in implementing this particular agreement, but I count on the determination of the government of the Congo, the people of the Congo and the people of the region to find peace. There won't be any problem without a solution. So let me say that maybe this is the beginning of that particular solution. So, instead of trying to put down our morale, you should be trying to raise it!

    How do you intend to round up, disarm and deliver the 'Interahamwe' and ex Rwandan soldiers?

    Rounding up the 'Interahamwe' is something we've done before. We have already rounded up 2,000 people (and put them in a camp in the town) in Kamina, so it's not something new for us. This is not something new, we will continue to trace them, to tell them that they have to understand that our country is not theirs, their country is Rwanda and they should be heading back to their country.

    I believe in persuasion and will be telling them the importance of returning home.

    What if you meet any resistance?

    If they resist, we can use force, but I don't believe that will happen. I do not expect any resistance.

    But those who don't want to go home (to Rwanda), then the countries that are party to this agreement, namely Rwanda and us the DRC, we will meet and decide what to do with them, after the verification mission by South Africa and the United Nations (guarantors of Tuesday's peace agreement). Then we will determine what sort of place we will put them.

    But we have sufficient time to organise and fix this and to get them to go where they need to go. So far we haven't met any resistance in demobilising and disarming them. We hope that we can continue to demobilise without any resistance.

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