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Friday, 6 September, 2002, 21:46 GMT 22:46 UK
Uganda and DR Congo make peace
Congo rebel soldier
Uganda has been supporting rebels in the Congo

The presidents of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have signed a peace accord aimed at ending three years of hostility.

The signing took place on Friday in Angola, whose president Jose Eduardo dos Santos has taken on the role of peace broker in the Congo conflict.

The agreement commits Uganda to withdraw its remaining troops from the DR Congo, where it has been supporting rebels for three years.

President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos
Jose Eduardo dos Santos helped broker the peace accord

DR Congo has signed up to taking action against rebel forces hostile to Uganda.

The Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, and the Congolese President Joseph Kabila, signed the accord at the presidential palace in Luanda, witnessed by Mr dos Santos.

Angolan military intervention has in the past ensured the survival of the Kinshasa government, but with most of his troops withdrawn from the Congo, Mr dos Santos has been casting himself in the role of peacemaker.

Mr Museveni said that only a few Ugandan battalions remained in the Congo, and that these were being withdrawn at the moment.

Elections

While the agreement confirms the more flexible attitude shown by Uganda in the last few months, it does not address the question of Rwandan support for rebels in the Congo.

All the parties nevertheless greeted the accord as a step towards the resolution of the Congo conflict.

Afterwards Mr dos Santos was asked about the implementation of the remaining aspects of the Angolan peace process - including elections.

Mr dos Santos said that elections should wait until there was security and tranquillity in the country, and suggested that this could take up to three years.

Angolans last went to the polls in 1992.

Last year Mr dos Santos said he would not stand for election again - but when asked on Friday whether he was reconsidering this decision, he did not rule out the possibility of standing again, saying that it was up to his party to choose its candidate.


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