Democratic Republic of Congo peace deal signed


Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete (L), Mozambique President Armando Guebuza (C) and Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila (R) walk to an extraordinary Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Mozambique on February 8, 2013 to discuss the deployment of peacekeepers to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The group was said to be at an advanced stage of military planning, but there was still disagreement about whether to send a stand-alone SADC force or join the United Nations mission.


Ferhat Momade

The Democratic Republic of Congo signed a UN-backed peace treaty Sunday to bring calm to the country's troubled eastern region. 

The agreement was signed by 11 African Great Lakes countries in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. Ban Ki-moon was present for the ceremony, BBC News reported

"It is my hope that the framework will lead to an era of peace and stability for the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the region," Ban said.

"It is only the beginning of a comprehensive approach that will require sustained engagement," he added. 

The region has seen over 800,000 people displaced by the March 23 militant group, which has been rebelling against the government in Kinshasa since May, according to the BBC. 

The agreement may lead to an intervention by United Nations forces, which already have 17,000 troops deployed in the Congo, Deutsche Welle reported.

There is also much discussion of political work to ease the conflict, which is stoked by the support of the rebels by neighboring countries, according to Agence France-Presse

"We ... commit ourselves to respect our obligations of this agreement we signed today, and we wish that all the signatories do the same," Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila said, Reuters reported