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Congo and M23 rebels sign peace deal

13 December 2013, 10:56

Nairobi - Congo and the so-called M23 rebels signed a peace agreement on Thursday that will see the insurgent group demobilise its fighters and transform itself into a political party.

Kenya's presidency said Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who is the chair of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region, and Malawian President Joyce Banda oversaw the signing ceremony in Nairobi.

The agreements also foresee that members of the M23 insurgency will be granted an amnesty for acts of war. The agreements also allow for the return of refugees.

M23 launched its rebellion in eastern Congo in April 2012, becoming the latest reincarnation of a Tutsi rebel group dissatisfied with the Congolese government.

The US welcomed the agreement, State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf said, adding the declarations "represent a strong step forward for peace in eastern DRC".

UN representative Martin Nesirky said in a news release that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the agreement and that it marked a positive step toward ending "cycles of deadly conflicts that have caused immense suffering to the Congolese people".

- AP


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