Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


DRC peace deal may be signed soon

07 February 2013, 12:37

New York - A delayed UN-mediated peace deal aimed at ending two decades of conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is now broadly agreed and could be ready for signing later this month, the UN officials and diplomats said on Wednesday.

African leaders failed to sign the deal last week due to concerns of some countries over who would command a new regional force that would deploy in eastern DRC and take on armed groups operating in the conflict-torn region.

The UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told reporters on Tuesday that all the key countries involved appeared ready to sign the agreement, though he declined to provide details on when and where it could be finalised.

Diplomats said the dispute over the nature of the command for the so-called enforcement brigade had not been entirely resolved, but possible dates for signing the deal somewhere in Africa in mid-February - with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon present - were already being discussed.

Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky declined to comment on the secretary-general's travel plans, though he said Ban was in contact with "regional leaders" on the issue.

Envoys said that one of the main reasons the deal was not signed last week was that three countries in the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc - South Africa, Tanzania and Mozambique - felt they did not have enough information on the brigade.

Ladsous has made clear that it would fight under the banner of Monusco, which means it would be under the same command as regular Monusco troops, who conduct patrols and support the Congolese security forces.

But diplomats say South Africa, Tanzania and Mozambique, which are the most likely candidates to supply the several thousand troops of the brigade, believe it should have its own command.

The countries take the view that Monusco has not performed well under its current command, such as when it allowed M23 rebels to occupy the eastern city of Goma last year for 11 days before they withdrew.

UN terms delay "procedural"

Ban and other UN officials and envoys have described the dispute as "procedural", and diplomats say all of DRC's neighbours - including Rwanda and Uganda - and most members of SADC are ready to sign.

Ladsous was asked about the issue again on Wednesday at a news conference at the UN headquarters. He insisted that there was no collapse of the agreement last week.

"I would not say that the deal fell apart," he said. "There were further discussions."

Ladsous said that if approved by the UN Security Council, the enforcement would be equipped with a three-pronged mandate to prevent the expansion of armed groups in eastern DRC, as well to "neutralise" and disarm them.

It would have the aid of unmanned surveillance drones to hunt down armed militias difficult to spot in the vast territory of eastern DRC. Ladsous said the drones would provide an element of deterrence, since the rebels would know they were being watched.

The creation of an enforcement brigade within a UN peacekeeping mission, as well as the planned use of drones, is new for the United Nations, UN officials say.

But diplomats and UN officials say that no increase in the UN military activity can end the bloodshed without a peace agreement between Kinshasa and its neighbours covering DRC’s mineral-rich east.

"It all hinges on the political framework agreement," a Western diplomat said. "Without a regional peace deal, there can be no peace."

The Congolese government has been negotiating with M23 rebels in neighbouring Uganda. The rebels said last week that they hope to sign a peace deal with Kinshasa that would end their ten-month revolt by the end of February.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...