DRC – Rwanda joint forces agreement doomed from start?

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Reports from DR Congo claim that the governments of both Rwanda and Congo have agreed to sign a deal to work together towards combating rebels activities in the region.

The expected signing of the agreement follows talks between the countries foreign ministers in the eastern Congolese city of Goma, where the fighting has recently centred.

‘The Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) must either go back to Rwanda or become non-combatant in Congolese territory,” Congolese Foreign Minister Alexis Thambwe Mwamba said.

The deal will see the government of DR Congo disarm the ethnic Hutu militia blamed for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the government of Rwanda use its influence over Congolese Tutsi rebel leader Laurent Nkunda, to help end fighting in eastern DR Congo.

The Congolese government has often promised to stop Hutu forces from using its territory, but has not done so. Its forces have instead been accused of working with the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda, FDLR to exploit the region’s rich mines.

The Rwandan FDLR Hutu fighters have lived in eastern DR Congo since the 1994 slaughter of 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus and have been a key factor in destabilising the region.

Gen Nkunda has since made the disarmament of the Hutu forces a central demand to halting his rebellion, which has led to a humanitarian disaster in the region.

However, experts say that similar agreements have failed in the past and this one may not be different.

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