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Tuesday, August 24, 1999 Published at 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK

World: Africa

Rebels to sign Congo truce

The DR Congo has endured a year of civil war

Rival rebel leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo have agreed to sign a peace deal intended to end the country's year-old civil war.

[ image: Ernest Wamba dia Wamba:
Ernest Wamba dia Wamba: "All founding members will sign"
Leaders of two factions within the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) said they would sign the deal after resolving a dispute over which of them would represent the RCD in the signing of the accord.

"We hope to go to Lusaka before the end of the week to sign the agreement," said Bizima Karaha of the RCD faction backed by Rwanda and based in Goma.

Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, who heads the rival RCD faction backed by Uganda and based in Kisangani, said he had agreed to the proposal last weekend and was also ready to go to Lusaka.

"We can accept that," Wamba said. "If there are assurances that we are going to sign, we will go."

(Click here to see a map of the region)

[ image: President Laurent Kabila: Signed the deal in Lusaka]
President Laurent Kabila: Signed the deal in Lusaka
When the rebel leaders and African government representatives assembled last month to sign the deal in the Zambian capital Lusaka, the two rivals would not allow each other to add their signatures on behalf of the RCD.

Congolese President Laurent Kabila signed the deal in Lusaka, as did his allies Angola Namibia and Zimbabwe, and Rwanda and Uganda which are supporting the rebels.

The separate Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) rebel group signed the deal later.

'Both factions to sign accord'

Last week, leaders of the Southern African Development Community agreed proposals to allow both rebel factions to sign the Lusaka deal and hold leadership elections.

On Sunday Prof Wamba was quoted as saying that all the founding members of the RCD - including the rival leaders - would now be allowed to sign the deal.

The rebel factions' acceptance of the agreement follows talks between Rwanda's Vice-President Paul Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Zuma was also involved in mediation efforts.


The split led to recent fierce fighting as the factions battled for control of Kisangani - the centre of the Congo's lucrative diamond trade.

Rwandan and Ugandan troops entered the battle in support of the different factions.

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