Skip to main content

African leaders sign Congo peace deal

By CNN Staff
updated 10:31 AM EST, Mon February 25, 2013
Joseph Kabila, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, signs the peace accord Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Joseph Kabila, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, signs the peace accord Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: U.N.-backed deal could get Democratic Republic of Congo out of "current morass"
  • Leaders from several African countries sign the deal
  • It is meant to stabilize the nation's restive eastern region
  • Congo's army is fighting the M23 rebel group

(CNN) -- African leaders signed a U.N.-backed deal on Sunday meant to bring stability to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Government forces are battling the M23 rebel group in the eastern part of that country.

"It is my earnest hope that the framework will lead to an era of peace and stability for the peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.

Opinion: How Obama can end Congo conflict

The agreement calls for cooperation among nations to "preserve and protect the territorial sovereignty" of the Democratic Republic of Congo, he said.

Life in Goma amid crisis

Ban praised the framework but stressed that it marks just the beginning of a "comprehensive approach that will require sustained engagement."

Rwanda's president discusses DR Congo

The deal was signed in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa by envoys of several African nations, including Uganda and Rwanda. Representatives from the rebel group were not involved.

Ban said that a U.N. special envoy would be appointed to support the deal's implementation.

South African President Jacob Zuma said the agreement represents an opportunity.

Opinion: Hope for an end to world's deadliest war

"This framework in itself does not provide all the answers, it is an instrument that points the Government of the DRC, its immediate neighbors and the international community in a direction that will take this country out of the current morass," Zuma said at the signing ceremony. The possible deployment of an intervention brigade of U.N. troops has been mentioned as a way of stabilizing the nation's restive eastern region.

The agreement had been expected to be signed last month, but was delayed because of what Ban described as "procedural issues."

The M23 group was named for a peace deal of March 23, 2009, which it accuses the government of violating. The soldiers, mostly Tutsis, became part of the national army through that accord.

However, they broke away from the Congolese army in April, complaining they weren't being promoted as promised and because of a lack of pay and poor conditions.

Fighting between the M23 and the army has displaced close to a million people in North Kivu province and more than 300,000 in the southeastern province of Katanga, according to the United Nations.

The unrest continues a cycle of misery in eastern Congo, a mineral-rich region at the epicenter of political and ethnic conflict involving its neighbors to the east, Uganda and Rwanda.

The area has been embroiled in violence since 1994, when Hutu forces crossed the border from Rwanda fearing reprisals after the genocide in that country.

CNN's Joseph Netto and Nana Karikari-apau contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 2:18 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
While aspects of the fighting in Gaza resemble earlier clashes, this time feels different, writes military analyst Rick Francona.
updated 10:38 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
The death of an American from Ebola fuels fears of the further global spread of the virus.
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Nearly two weeks after MH17 was blown out of the sky, Dutch investigators have yet to lay eyes on the wreckage. How useful will it be now?
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
The U.S. and EU are imposing new sanctions on Moscow -- but will they have any effect?
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
The reported firing of artillery from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle, says CNN's military analyst Rick Francona.
updated 4:46 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
The young boy stops, stares, throws ammunition casings at the reporter's feet without a word.
updated 8:48 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT