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DRC And Rwanda Sign Peace Deal - 2002-07-30

The leaders of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have signed a peace deal aimed at ending four years of fighting in the D-R-C.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Congolese President Joseph Kabila put their signatures on the accord Tuesday in Pretoria, South Africa.

South African President Thabo Mbeki and Malawi President Bakili Maluzi also attended the signing ceremony.

The peace deal calls for Rwanda to withdraw its 20-thousand troops from the D-R-C within three months. In return, the Congolese government will round up, disarm and send home Rwandan ethnic Hutu rebels in the D-R-C, who are responsible for Rwanda's 1994 genocide. An estimated 800-thousand ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered over a three-month period.

Many analysts have already predicted the deal is unlikely to end the conflict in Congo, saying its goals are unrealistic.

More than two million people have died in Congo's conflict, which erupted in 1998 when rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda took up arms against the Congolese government.

Analysts say it will be almost impossible for Rwanda to withdraw 20-thousand troops in 90 days. Even more difficult, according to experts, will be the D-R-C's obligation to round up Hutu rebels, who are scattered throughout the country.