The Democratic Republic of Congo's government has signed a peace accord with Tutsi rebels operating in volatile North Kivu provice.

The agreement was signed Monday in the provincial capital Goma, by representatives of President Joseph Kabila's government and the rebel group's leader, Desire Kamanzi.

Under the agreement, the rebel National Congress for the Defense of the People (CDNP) pledges to become a political party that seeks to achieve its goals through "strictly political paths."

The DRC government, in turn, has agreed to pass a law granting amnesty to former rebel fighters.

Fighting last year between the government and the rebels, then led by renegade General Laurent Nkunda, displaced hundreds of thousands in the eastern DRC.

General Nkunda was arrested in Rwanda earlier this year and the CNDP came under new leadership.

Observers say the situation in eastern Congo has improved since then, but other rebel groups in the region continue to cause unrest.

U.N. officials have said a recent Rwandan-DRC operation to drive out Rwandan Hutu rebels did not work, and that the rebels continue to operate in the area.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.