Hopes of deal being signed with rebels in Congo

Friday 15 March 2013 22.59
M23 fighters are expected to hand in their weapons ahead of a deployment of United Nations peacekeepers
M23 fighters are expected to hand in their weapons ahead of a deployment of United Nations peacekeepers

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has said it hopes it will soon sign a peace deal with eastern rebels.

The proposed agreement is similar to previous attempts at ending the recurrent conflicts in Congo's mineral-rich east.

Local politics, ethnic rivalries and tensions with neighbouring Rwanda have simmered for nearly two decades.

A year-long rebellion, known as the M23, briefly seized the town of Goma last year.

According to the draft peace plan, seen by Reuters earlier this week, M23 fighters will hand in their weapons ahead of a deployment of United Nations peacekeepers in their territory near Congo's border with Rwanda.

Rebels not facing prosecution will be integrated into the army.

Congo's government will, in turn, speed up the return of Congolese ethnic Tutsi refugees from Rwanda.

The deal also offers M23 fighters a limited amnesty.

Keywords: congo, rebel