Regional African leaders have signed a UN-brokered accord which aims to bring peace to the troubled eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The deal was signed in the presence of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
He said he hoped it would bring “an era of peace and stability” to the region.
As many as 800,000 people have been displaced since the March 23 rebel group took up arms against the Kinshasa government last May.
“It is only the beginning of a comprehensive approach that will require sustained engagement,” Mr Ban said.
The agreement, signed by leaders and representatives of 11 countries of the Great Lakes region, may lead to the establishment of a special UN intervention brigade in eastern Congo, along with political efforts to bring peace.
An initial attempt to get the peace agreement signed last month was called off at the last minute.
Leaders from Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Republic and South Sudan were present at the signing.
The M23 rebels say they want to improve living conditions for the people of eastern DR Congo, but the UN says they are supported by Rwanda, which has been heavily involved in its eastern neighbour since those responsible for the country’s genocide fled there en masse in 1994.
The group briefly seized control of the city of Goma last November.