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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 19:03 GMT 20:03 UK
Deal agreed to avert DR Congo war
Congolese rebels
DR Congo accused Rwanda of backing the rebels in Bukavu
The presidents of Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda have agreed to abide by a 2002 peace pact to avoid renewed conflict in the region.

Congolese leader Joseph Kabila and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame made the declaration after talks on Friday.

Mr Kabila had accused Rwanda of backing rebels who briefly took control of the eastern town of Bukavu.

Rwanda denied the charges and said the deployment of 10,000 troops to their common border was hostile.

Sombre

The three hour summit, held at Nigeria's Abuja airport, was facilitated by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in an effort to rebuild trust between the two men.

According to the BBC's Mannir Dan Ali in Abuja the mood after the talks was sombre as Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Oluyemi Adeniji read out a brief statement.

The presidents also agreed to continue the work of the joint verification committee to ensure that there were no more Rwandan troops in DR Congo and that ethnic Rwandan Hutu extremists who fled Rwanda after the 1994 genocide had been disarmed and repatriated.

Rwanda has twice sent troops into its massive neighbour in recent years but withdrew 20,000 of them in 2002 under an agreement which paved the way for an end to DR Congo's five-year war.

DR CONGO'S WAR
Five years
Seven foreign armies
At least 3 million dead
Disease and abuses widespread

It was the first time the two presidents had met since fighting erupted in Bukavu earlier this month.

Some 36,000 people have fled the area around Bukavu.

UK envoy Chris Mullin and Donald Yamamoto from the United States have visited both countries this week in a bid to reduce tensions.

On Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council warned Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, whose troops were all involved in DR Congo's war, not to interfere again.

Meanwhile hundreds of people have fled Minova, a town near the border with Rwanda because Congolese rebels have moved into the surrounding area, United Nations peacekeepers said on Friday.

A team of peacekeepers has been sent to Minova from Bukavu on a fact-finding mission.


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