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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 01:03 GMT 02:03 UK
Presidents look forward to peace
Rwandan President Paul Kagame, South African President Thabo Mbeki, Congolese President Joseph Kabila
The peace accord will end Africa's biggest war

President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda have signed a peace accord to end Africa's biggest war.

The signing ceremony was held at the Presidential Guest House in the South African capital Pretoria on Tuesday. It was preceded by speeches by the two leaders.

The following are excerpts from both speeches as broadcast by SABC African Television:

President Joseph Kabila, in French:

"Your Excellency Mr Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa, current president of the African Union; Your Excellency Mr Bakili Muluzi, President of the Republic of Malawi and chairman of SADC; Your Excellency Mr Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda; Your Excellency Mr Amara Essy, Interim President of the Commission of the African Union; Madame, the representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen...


The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo will apply in good faith today's commitments to be able to give an opportunity to our children to live without fear of tomorrow

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

"Today's event reflects the will of the Congolese people and of all the other people in the region of the Great Lakes to live in peace, so that together they can face the challenges of illness, hunger and poverty...

"We will soon be signing the peace agreement with the Republic of Rwanda. The Congolese people, its government and myself are determined to live in harmony with the nine countries with which we share borders.

"The Democratic Republic of Congo must play once again its full role, that of a source of peace, of solidarity and of progress for the African continent in accordance with its undoubted aim...

"The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo will apply in good faith today's commitments to be able to give an opportunity to our children to live without fear of tomorrow...

"No more blood must run because the Republic of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are not at all interested in sacrificing the young people of their countries on the battlefield.

"They need these young people to carry out the noble programme of the absolutely new African Union and to lead their respective peoples towards happiness...

"If the first step is always difficult to take and as it has just been taken, it is up to the entire international community to support us in every possible way so that this journey can take place without any errors..."

President Paul Kagame, in English:

"...This agreement is very important in many respects... One, it addresses the first part of how to deal with the ex-Far Interahamwe, the genocidal forces, that have been behind what has been happening in terms of the conflict in our region.

"The second part is that it paves the way for the withdrawal of the forces that are involved in this conflict from the Congo, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, so that the Congolese people can be able to live in peace and struggle to rebuild their country as we all desire, like in Rwanda, to rebuild our lives, our country...


Rwanda is ready to fulfil its part of the obligation as agreed in this Memorandum of Understanding

President Kagame
"I call upon our African brothers and sisters to be part of the process, to do more than they have done in the past to stand together with the people of Rwanda and the people of Congo...

"And to the international community, I also wish to state that it would be very helpful if they got involved directly, if they were able to use their capacities to try and help these Africa's efforts so that we realize peace.

"We are sure that if they came on board and supported these efforts, we shall be able to move forward because it's important that, since some of them have historically been part of the problem, they cannot escape the responsibility of being part of the solution...

"On behalf of my country, I wish to state to you, Mr President, Chairman of African Union, and the distinguished ladies and gentlemen here present, that on our part Rwanda is ready to fulfil its part of the obligation as agreed in this Memorandum of Understanding we are going to sign..."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


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