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Will The DRC Peace Agreement Succeed? - 2002-07-30


Some observers say it will take a great deal of will and commitment for the Congo peace plan to succeed. One of those who thinks the odds are against success is Hermann Hanekom, a current affairs consultant who works with the Africa Institute of South Africa in Pretoria.

He says the peace agreement “could be the real thing if the political will, honesty and capability are there.” However, he says as in “previous deals, it is a very exclusive process and not an inclusive one.” He says Rwanda has promised to withdraw its forces from the Democratic Republic of Congo once its security concerns are met. But he says Rwanda has failed to spell out just what those conditions are.

Rwanda is concerned about the remnants of the former Hutu-led army and militias that took part in the 1994 genocide. Uganda, Zimbabwe and Angola also have troops in the DRC. Mr. Hanekom also says the Kinshasa government does not control the eastern part of the country and may not be strong enough to do so. Much of that area, he says, is in the hands of rebels backed by Rwanda.

He says it will take a peacekeeping force of at least twenty thousand to enforce the peace plan and try to disarm the combatants. He says the United Nations “has the will” but he’s not sure about “the commitment.” Mr. Hanekom says for a peace plan to succeed, all foreign troops must leave the DRC, peace must prevail in the frontier areas, and all the warring parties, not just some, must sit down and negotiate. Hermann Hanekom spoke from Pretoria to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua.

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