African leaders 'agree on ceasefire' in violence-torn eastern DR Congo

© Moses Sawasawa, AP

An agreement has been struck which could mean the adoption of a ceasefire in the violence-torn east of DR Congo as soon as late Friday, Angola's Foreign Minister Tete Antonio has said.

The Democratic Republic of Congo's President Felix Tshisekedi had been meeting Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta in Luanda on Wednesday as tensions soared between the neighbours amid bloody militia violence on their border.

Eastern DRC has witnessed fierce fighting in recent months between Congolese troops and the M23 rebel group.

An agreement was reached for an "immediate ceasefire" in the DRC at 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) Friday, Tete said after the talks.

The parties also agreed to demand "the immediate withdrawal of M23 rebels from the occupied areas", he added.

The clashes have triggered a diplomatic row, with the DRC accusing Rwanda of aiding the rebels, something that its far smaller neighbour denies.

The East African Community (EAC), of which Rwanda is a member, has also vowed to deploy a joint force to quell the violence.

Kenyan soldiers arrived in the DRC earlier this month and Uganda says it will shortly deploy around 1,000 troops.

The EAC's chair, Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye, and former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta – the EAC's "facilitator" in efforts to restore peace and security in the mineral-rich region – were also in Luanda.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame was not in attendance at the talks for reasons that were not immediately clear.

(AFP)


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