UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday welcomed a peace deal signed by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the rebels known as the M23, calling it "a positive step towards ending cycles of deadly conflicts" in the war-torn country.
"The secretary-general welcomes the conclusion today of the Kampala Dialogue between the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the M23, through the signing of declarations by the parties today in Nairobi, Kenya," said a statement issued by Ban's spokesman.
The secretary-general also welcomed a Final Communique by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Joyce Banda of Malawi, in their capacities as chairs of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and Southern African Development Community (SADC), it said.
"This constitutes a positive step towards ending cycles of deadly conflicts that have caused immense suffering to the Congolese people," said the statement.
The accord was signed in the presence of regional leaders in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
Last month, the DCR government refused to sign a deal brokered by Uganda. At least 800,000 people fled their homes during the conflict, reports said.
The M23, which stands for the March 23 Movement, took up arms in eastern DRC in April 2012, accusing the government of marginalizing the ethnic Tutsi minority and failing to honor previous peace accords.
In early November, peace talks between the M23 and the DRC government were held held in Kampala, Uganda. The M23, composed of a breakaway faction of soldiers from the DRC's national army, earlier this year seized seven towns in North Kivu province and intensified attacks on schools, hospitals, homes and other civilian targets.
On Nov. 5, The M23 rebels on Tuesday declared an end to the rebellion launched since April 2012 in eastern DRC, saying they would pursue their goals through "purely political means."
The secretary-general congratulates the government of the Republic of Uganda for hosting and facilitating the talks under the auspices of the ICGLR, the statement said.
"The secretary-general notes that the outcome documents of the Kampala Dialogue do not grant immunity to alleged perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, or gross violations of human rights," the statement said.
"He urges the parties to begin implementation without delay and to fully respect their commitments," the statement said. "He extends the full support of the United Nations to facilitate the implementation process, as needed."
"The secretary-general calls on all other armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to lay down their weapons and pursue their objectives through peaceful political means," the statement said.
"The secretary-general hopes that the DRC and its neighbors will build on the latest positive developments by working together to address the root causes of instability in eastern DRC through the full implementation of their commitments under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region," the statement said.
UN launches unmanned surveillance aircraft to better protect civilians in DRC
UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations on Tuesday launched its first-ever unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a bid to better protect civilians in the country's restive east, a UN spokesman said.
"This morning in Goma, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN Mission, MONUSCO, conducted the inaugural launch of its unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles," Martin Nesirky said at a daily news briefing here. Goma is the capital of the country's North Kivu Province. Full story