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DRC not out of the woods, U.S. warns

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The end of the March 23 Movement in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a beginning but more work is needed, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said.

U.S. special envoy to the Great Lakes region of Africa Russ Feingold took part in negotiations in Uganda meant to secure peace in eastern DRC. Through a joint effort with the African Union, the European Union, the United Nations and regional negotiators, Feingold helped reach a peace deal between M23 and the DRC government.

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"The end of the M23 represents an important step toward resolving the persistent insecurity in eastern DRC, but much more work remains to be done," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said during a Thursday press briefing.

M23 consists of former rebels integrated into the DRC military who mutinied last year, complaining the government reneged on a 2009 peace agreement. The movement is suspected of committing war crimes during its campaign in eastern DRC.

"We also urge the DRC government to ensure that all of those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity are held accountable," Harf said.

International aid group Oxfam has warned there may be dozens of armed groups fighting in DRC apart from M23.

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A special brigade of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in DRC was mandated to use force against rebels.

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