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Friday, 6 September, 2002, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Uganda, DR Congo to sign peace deal
Uganda-backed MLC rebel troops
Uganda backs the MLC rebels in DR Congo
The leaders of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have agreed to normalise their relations after four years of war.

Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Joseph Kabila of DR Congo are in the Angolan capital, Luanda, and are expected to sign the peace deal later on Friday.

Last month, Uganda began pulling its troops out of the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the United Nations.

The deal was brokered by Angola, which sent troops to DR Congo to support the government against rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda.

Zimbabwe, another ally of Mr Kabila, also began withdrawing its troops in August.

The withdrawals follow a peace deal between DR Congo and Rwanda made in July.

Uganda has withdrawn 1,800 troops from DR Congo, leaving 2,000 in the north-eastern town of Bunia, reports the UN-funded Irin news agency.

Uganda first sent troops into Congo in 1998 - together with Rwanda - in support of rebels seeking to oust the then president, Laurent Kabila.

Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia sent in troops to support the government.

Uganda backs the MLC group, while supports the RCD.

'Symbolic'

Uganda first announced it had withdrawn most of its troops from DR Congo a year ago.

However, Kampala later sent other soldiers back to quell tribal fighting in the north-east.

Zimbabwe still has around 2,400 troops in DR Congo, the UN says.

Peace deal signed in South Africa
Rwanda and DR Congo signed a peace deal in July

The UN mission in DR Congo says Namibia pulled out its relatively few troops last year.

Angola - once a major force on the government side of the war - now has only a "symbolic" troop presence in Congo, the UN says.

Only Rwanda - with an estimated 30,000 troops in east Congo - has yet to move toward compliance with promises to pull out after the presidents of the two countries signed a peace pact on 30 July to end hostilities.

Under the pact, DR Congo pledged to disarm and send home Rwandan rebels based on its soil, in return for Rwanda's pledge to pull out its troops.

However, neither Rwanda nor DR Congo has made any major new move to carry it out - each accusing the other of violating the agreement.

Aid agencies say the war in DR Congo has killed 2.5 million people - most of them having succumbed to disease and famine caused or worsened by the conflict.


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