Rwanda, Congo renew peace pledge

The leaders of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda have pulled their countries back from the brink of war when they agreed at a crisis summit in Nigeria to respect a peace accord signed in 2002.

    Kagame (L) and Kabila met under pressure from US and Britain

    The two leaders agreed to send monitors to their border region to calm fears of new fighting after Kinshasa sent 10,000 troops to tackle rebels it says were backed by Rwanda.

       

    After four hours of talks in Nigeria on Friday, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his Congolese counterpart Joseph Kabila also reaffirmed their commitment to a 2002 peace deal which led to an end of the five-year Congo war.

       

    Earlier, Nigerian presidential spokeswoman Remi Oyo said the meeting was aimed at "reconciliation and peace".

     

    Tension up

     

    Insurgency blow to Kabila's
    transitional government

    Tension between tiny Rwanda - which has invaded Congo twice in the past eight years - and its huge neighbour has risen since Kabila accused Rwanda of backing a rebellion by renegade troops in the eastern Congolese town of Bukavu this month.

       

    Kabila sent 10,000 loyal troops to crush the insurgents near the Rwandan border, a move denounced by Rwanda as hostile.

       

    Fighting around Bukavu, a region rich in minerals, has displaced 85,000 people and raised fears that the region will slide back into a war that ended in 2003 having killed three million people - mostly from disease and starvation.

     

    Risk

       

    "I don't believe there is going to be a war with Rwanda as it's not in our interests..."

    Joseph Kabila,
    president, Republic of Congo

    The insurgency was a blow to Kabila's transition government as it tried to impose its authority on Africa's third-largest nation and reconcile feuding factions after five years of war.

       

    Kabila played down the risk of a fresh conflict with Rwanda in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday.

       

    "I don't believe there is going to be a war with Rwanda as it's not in our interests, it's not what we want. I would want to believe that Rwanda also wants peace," he said.

       

    The two leaders agreed to meet at the invitation of Nigeria after diplomatic pressure by Britain and the United States, which both sent envoys to the equatorial region recently.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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