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Nations sign UN peace deal for Congo

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Eleven African countries signed a United Nations-drafted peace deal on Sunday to stabilize the Democratic Republic of Congo, where rebels allegedly backed by neighboring countries last year threatened to oust the government.

Opening the agreement-signing meeting at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said peace, security, and cooperation framework for Congo would bring stability to central Africa.

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‘‘The signing ceremony is significant even in itself. But it is only the beginning of a comprehensive approach that will require sustained engagement,’’ Ban said in his speech. “The framework before you outlines commitments and oversight mechanisms which aim at addressing key national and regional issues.’’

Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Central African Republic, Angola, Uganda, Mozambique, South Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, and the Republic of Congo signed the accord.

Congo’s neighbors collectively promised to not interfere in its internal affairs. They also agreed to not tolerate or support armed groups. A UN report last year said that Rwanda and Uganda helped aid M23 rebels inside Congo. The two countries denied the allegations.

Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, said the agreement is a new opportunity for Congo.

‘‘The framework recognizes that a holistic approach that addresses the multifaceted root causes is the only way to end instability,’’ said Kagame.

The United Nations says Congo suffers from persistent violence by both local and foreign armed groups that use rape as a weapon. The conflict has displaced nearly 2 million people.

The United Nations said it will undertake a review of its peacekeeping force in Congo, known as MONUSCO, to better help the country’s government address security challenges. Ban said he would issue a special report on Congo in coming days.

‘‘It will outline my proposal for a new comprehensive approach to addressing the underlying causes of the conflict in the DRC and the region, which encompasses the various components of the framework.’’ Ban said, while also calling for a more robust role for the peacekeeping force.

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