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Rwanda, DRC May Sign Peace Agreement Next Week

South African President Thabo Mbeki says a new peace deal between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo could be signed in Pretoria next week.

Mr. Mbeki told reporters Congolese President Joseph Kabila and Rwandan President Paul Kagame are both planning to sign the peace deal reached by their emissaries in Pretoria earlier this week. "Both President Kagame and President Kabila have urged that the agreement which they reached should be signed by themselves as quickly as possible," he said.

The South African president said the two sides are discussing the date with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and with leaders of the African Union and the Southern African Development Community.

"We are in the process of discussing with them the date of the signing of the agreement," he said. "And President Kagame is very keen indeed that the agreement should be signed and implemented."

Details of the deal itself are still vague. But the man who chaired the peace talks, South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma, has said it includes both the withdrawal of the estimated 20,000 Rwandan troops from Congo, and the rounding up of the Interahamwe militia that took part in Rwanda's 1994 genocide and continues to operate out of eastern Congo.

Mr. Zuma said the deal restores the sovereignty and integrity of the DRC while also achieving security for Rwanda.