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Monday, 8 May, 2000, 23:35 GMT 00:35 UK
Congo town pull out agreed
troops in Kisangani
Friday's clashes in Kisangani were the first since fighting broke out last August
Uganda and Rwanda have agreed to withdraw their forces from the town of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo after clashes last Friday.

In a joint statement, the two sides said they would pull back to a distance to be agreed in negotiations to be held soon.

We agreed on the futility of this crisis in Kisangani

President Museveni

The agreement was reached during a meeting in Uganda between President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and the UN Security Council special envoy, Richard Holbrooke.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda took part in the meeting via a satellite link.

UN mission

Mr Holbrooke is touring the region at the head of a Security Council delegation to assess the prospects for deploying a 5,000-strong UN peacekeeping force to monitor the cease-fire in the Congo.
Holbrooke and President Kabila
Holbrooke was touring the region to discuss Congo when fighting broke out

"We agreed on the futility of this crisis in Kisangani," Mr Museveni told reporters at his farm at Rwakitura, southwestern Uganda.

He said he would meet President Kagame on 14 May in Uganda or Tanzania.

Uganda and Rwanda, whose leaders used to be close personal friends, began the war against Congo's President Kabila as allies, but divisions emerged after they backed rival rebel factions.

At least 10 civilians were killed and 100 injured by mortar fire in last Friday's fighting; military casualties are not known.

It was the first fighting between Rwanda and Uganda since clashes unexpectedly broke out in Kisangani last August in which hundreds of Rwandan and Ugandan soldiers died.

Withdrawal 'soon'

Kisangani is a major river port and diamond-trading centre.

It is still not clear what sparked the latest hostilities, but tensions have been building up there since late March.

Rwanda, Uganda and the UN delegation have recommended that UN force deploy "at the earliest possible opportunity to Kisangani, to exercise neutral control over the demilitarised zone ... once the parties concerned have withdrawn".

No timetable was given for the withdrawal but Holbrooke said he expected it to happen "very, very soon".

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See also:

24 Feb 00 | Africa
Congolese face the future
18 Feb 00 | Africa
Congo's war within a war
24 Feb 00 | Africa
UN approves Congo force
09 Apr 00 | Africa
DR Congo ceasefire agreed
30 Apr 00 | Africa
Kabila: UN 'dragging its feet'
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