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Ironduke
17 Nov 03,, 00:49
Burundi rebels sign peace accord

The Burundian Government and main Hutu rebel group have signed a peace agreement, in an effort to end the country's decade-long civil war.

The deal was signed with the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD) in the presence of several African leaders in the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam.

The leaders also called on a smaller rebel group to open peace talks within three months.

The National Liberation Forces (FNL) are still fighting the government.

The African leaders said the FNL would be treated like an organisation which was against peace and stability if it did not join the peace process.

Correspondents say the inclusion of the group is necessary for a comprehensive peace.

This week, in the run-up to the two-day summit, 17 people were killed in clashes between government forces and the FNL.

The group is the dominant rebel force around the capital Bujumbura and can shell the city virtually at will, analysts say.

Power-sharing

The conflict between the rebels and the Tutsi-dominated army is estimated to have claimed 300,000 lives in the past decade - mostly civilians.

Burundian President Domitien Ndayizeye and FDD leader Pierre Nkurunziza were joined at the talks by three African heads of state, other senior officials and representatives from the United Nations and European Union.

The principal mediators are Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni and South African Vice President Jacob Zuma.

The political and military agreement sets out the details of power-sharing between the government and the rebels.

The signing of the deal ratifies an accord hammered out in October and November in Pretoria, South Africa.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3273309.stm