- Posted February 25, 2013 by
African leaders sign Congo peace deal
As many as 800,000 people have been displaced since the M23 rebel group began its fight against the Kinshasa government last May; the agreement calls for cooperation among nations to “preserve and protect the territorial sovereignty” of the DR Congo, Mr Ban said.
The agreement was signed in the Ethiopian capital by leaders and representatives of 11 countries of the Great Lakes region, including Uganda and Rwanda, although representatives from the rebel group were not involved. It is hoped that deal may lead to the formation of a special U.N. intervention brigade in eastern DR Congo, along with political efforts to bring peace. “It is only the beginning of a comprehensive approach that will require sustained engagement,” Mr Ban said.
An agreement had been expected to be signed last month, but was delayed because of what Mr Ban described as “procedural issues”. It is thought the deal collapsed after the rebel group accused President Joseph Kabila of failing to honour a deal to integrate rebels into the army.
The M23 group claims they want to improve living conditions for the people of eastern DR Congo, though the UN says they are being supported by Rwanda. DR Congo’s government and rebels have been holding talks in Uganda aimed at reaching an agreement on a number of issues, and in January the group declared a unilateral ceasefire.