Rwanda and DRC agree to peacekeeping force | News | DW | 15.07.2012
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Rwanda and DRC agree to peacekeeping force

The leaders of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda have agreed to the deployment of an international peacekeeping force along their border region. The deal was reached on the fringes of the AU summit.

A Congolese government soldier stands guard at a military outpost between Kachiru village and Mbuzi hill, in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kongo Armee sucht nach Milizenchef Bosco Ntaganda

The presidents of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have agreed to support the deployment of an international force to bring peace to eastern Congo.

Rwanda's Paul Kagame and Joseph Kabila of the DRC joined other leaders from the Great Lakes region in signing on to an accord providing for the creation of a force to put down a number of insurgencies the Congolese provinces of North and South Kivu.

The signatories to the deal agreed in principle "to work with the AU and the UN for an immediate establishment of an international force to eradicate" all armed rebels the eastern DRC.

M23 rebels

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who also attended the talks on the fringes of the African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, described the atmosphere of the meeting between Kagame and Kabila as "excellent, amicable."

Much of the international force's effort is expected to focus on Tutsi-led M23 rebels in the eastern DRC's border region. Rebel advances over the past couple of weeks caused government forces to retreat and displaced thousands of civilians.

The Rwandan government denied DRC accusations that its army was directly supporting the M23 rebels, despite evidence provided by UN officials.

In a statement announcing the agreement, the signatories condemned "in the strongest possible terms the actions of the M23 and other negative forces operation in the region."

It is not immediately clear where the troops for the international force would be drawn from, but AU Commission chief Jean Ping said the African countries would be among those contributing soldiers.

pfd/rc (Reuters, AFP)