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African envoy Feingold headed to fragile DRC

African envoy Feingold headed to fragile DRC
Then Sen. Russell Feingold, D-WI, speaks during the meeting of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on the Crisis in Tibet on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 23, 2008. (UPI File Photo/Patrick D. McDermott) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. special African envoy Russ Feingold is headed to the Democratic Republic of Congo to assess the prospects for peace, the U.S. State Department said.

Through a joint effort with the African Union, the European Union, the United Nations and regional negotiators, Feingold in December helped reach a peace deal between the rebel March 23 movement and the DRC government.

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M23 rebelled in 2012, complaining the DRC government broke promises made in a 2006 peace agreement that integrated rebels into the nation's military. M23 was suspected of committing war crimes during the rebellion.

On Monday, the State Department said Feingold, a former Democratic U.S. senator from Wisconsin, will travel "extensively" throughout DRC following a Great Lakes summit in neighboring Angola scheduled through Thursday.

Mary Robinson, a U.N. special envoy to the region, told the Security Council the spirit of peace has all but vanished in DRC.

"What is most important for meaningful progress is the immediate implementation of all commitments at the national and regional levels in order to bring about concrete peace dividends and lasting life improvements to the people in the region," she said Monday.

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