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Congo, Rwanda sign peace pact
(, 9 January 2003)
The presidents of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have signed a peace agreement aimed at ending a devastating war in which up to two million people have died in the heart of Africa. . . . Rwanda's Paul Kagame pledged to withdraw thousands of troops from eastern Congo, while Congo's Joseph Kabila undertook to help disarm Rwandan Hutu gunmen blamed for the slaughter of the Tutsi minority in Rwanda's 1994 genocide. . . . Among Kinshasa's backers, Namibia has withdrawn most of its soldiers. Kinshasa regards forces from Zimbabwe and Angola as guests of the government who will depart as soon as the latest peace accord is seen to be operating successfully it feels they are no longer needed. . . . US ambassador-at-large for war crimes Pierre-Richard Prosper said the United States wanted to take a bigger role in the poor continent but would not send troops to help secure peace in the Congo. [Editor's note: I guess we'd rather use our troops to kill people in Iraq.] . . . The agreement calls for all Rwandan forces to pull out within 90 days and to provide a detailed programme for doing this within five days. It also calls for the repatriation of former Rwandan soldiers opposed to their government and the Hutu gunmen within 90 days. . . . Hutu rebels saidthey would resist attempts to force them back to their country. . . . Scepticism mingled with war-weariness in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. "Whatever the content of the agreement, we are simply tired of the war," shopowner Paul Mushaidi said. . . . Most Rwandans have little idea there is such an accord because state media news reports have not given it prominence, although that may change now that the pact has been signed.

posted by Lorenzo 7:54 AM

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