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U.S. hails DRC peace deal


13:38, February 26, 2013

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Monday lauded the fresh peace deal aiming to bring stability to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), calling for the African nation to accelerate reforms from within and boost cooperation with key neighbors.

"The United States strongly supports the initiative of the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and ten other African heads of state in signing the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region, witnessed by three African regional bodies and the United Nations," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a statement.

Leaders from Africa's Great Lakes region signed the agreement on Sunday in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, under which a 4,000- strong international neutral force will be deployed to DRC to counter armed rebel groups like the M23, as the conflicts there have displaced more than 475,000 people and forced over 75,000 others to flee to neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.

"The continuing security and humanitarian crisis in eastern DRC highlights the urgent need for accelerated reforms within the DRC and increased cooperation among key countries in the Great Lakes region, particularly the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda," Ventrell said.

"We commend all the signatories for acknowledging their essential responsibilities in promoting regional peace and security," he added. "We urge the DRC to seize the opportunity to uphold its commitments to an extension of state authority in the east, to security sector reform and to improved governance."

He urged DRC's neighbors to respect its "sovereignty and territorial integrity" by preventing external support to the armed groups.

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