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UN Peacekeeping Chief Says Agreement in DRC Ready to be Signed

United Nations peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous says a delayed agreement to deploy a U.N. intervention brigade in the Democratic Republic of Congo is now ready to be signed.

Ladsous says the deal will be signed within the coming weeks, but gave no details.

Officials from eight African nations were to have signed the agreement at an African Union summit January 28 in Addis Ababa. But they backed down because of uncertainty over who would command the brigade.

Under the U.N.-mediated agreement, an intervention brigade would be sent to the eastern DRC to "neutralize" armed militias. Helicopters and drones would be used in support.

Ladsous said the brigade would operate under the mandate of the MONUSCO mission deployed elsewhere in the DRC.

Violence persisted in the DRC last year despite the 2009 peace agreement that includes integrating Congolese rebels into the regular army.

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