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Last Updated:  Thursday, 3 April, 2003, 10:02 GMT 11:02 UK
Caution over DR Congo deal
Congolese Foreign Minister Leonard She Okitundu signing the deal
Foreign Minister Leonard She Okitundu signed for President Kabila
Reaction has been muted to the signing of a deal in South Africa to end almost five years of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The agreement includes a new constitution and a power-sharing administration which is supposed to oversee DR Congo's first democratic elections since 1960 in two years' time.

However, President Joseph Kabila and MLC rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba did not personally sign the two page document.

Welcoming the deal, South Africa's President Mbeki warned of problems ahead from both within and outside the country's borders.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the most difficult times lay ahead, saying: "No one must imagine that this deal will implement itself."


Ethnic conflict among militias in the north-eastern Ituri region, which has born the brunt of the violence in recent months, is still a major stumbling block to peace.

Congolese Foreign Minister Leonard She Okitundu signing the deal
President Joseph Kabila stays
Rebels and civilian opposition name vice presidents
Elections in 2005
Factions integrated into new army

Speaking from the regional capital, Bunia, the BBC's Mark Dummett says that worries remain because too many people still have guns and ethnic hatreds are not going away.

He told the BBC's Network Africa programme of the scene of utter devastation he witnessed on a 40km stretch of road out of Bunia, with fresh graves at the roadside and all the villages he passed through being burnt out.

Villagers in Kobo showed him what they said were several mass graves from the end of February that contained between 35 and 75 bodies in them.

As well as continuing ethnic conflict in the area, there is also growing tension between neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda over the refusal of Ugandan troops to pull out of Bunia.

DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda all signed a deal to end the war last year but recently Rwanda threatened to send its troops back onto Congolese territory unless Uganda also withdraws.


The signing of the deal in the Sun City resort was witnessed by several regional leaders but questions still remain over the integrating of the different factions into a new army.

Rebel leaders are also unsure about their security in the capital, Kinshasa.

The signing endorsed an agreement last December and a new constitution reached last month.

Under the deal, President Kabila keeps his post, while rebels and the civilian opposition get vice-presidential posts in a two-year transitional authority.

More than two million people are believed to have died as a result of the war which began in 1998, and at one stage dragged in half a dozen foreign armies.

The BBC's Mark Dummett in Bunia
"Ngaya is just one of the many victims of the fighting in Ituri"

Uganda-Rwanda tension mounts
17 Mar 03  |  Africa
Clash overshadows Congo deal
07 Mar 03  |  Africa
DR Congo awash with rebels
23 Jul 02  |  Africa
DR Congo's road to peace
21 Oct 02  |  Africa

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