An international military intervention planned for the Democratic Republic of Congo's restive east would have 4,000 troops from different African countries, Defence Minister Alexandre Luba Ntambo said Friday.
The proposed "neutral international force" would not include troops from DR Congo or any of the countries accused of involvement in the fighting in the country's volatile Kivu region, Luba Ntambo said the day after meeting six other defence ministers from around the region to tackle the unrest.
"The DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, to name just those countries, are involved. It would not be proper for them to take part in the force," he told AFP.
Eastern DR Congo has been rife with rival militia and rebel forces since the 2003 end of a war that engulfed large tracts of the vast central African country.
Most recently, the army has been fighting deserters from its own ranks who have formed an armed group called M23, made up of ethnic Tutsi ex-rebels who were incorporated into the army in 2009 under a peace deal that they say was never fully implemented.
The group's clashes with the army have forced some 250,000 people from their homes near the border between DR Congo and Rwanda, which the UN has accused of backing the rebels -- a charge strongly denied by Kigali.
DR Congo President Joseph Kabila and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame have agreed on a neutral force to pacify the region, but heads of state from the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) have so far failed to reach agreement on its composition.
At their meeting, Luba Ntambo and the defence minister of Angola, Burundi, Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda agreed that the M23 rebels must "return to their pre-June 30 positions" on three hills near the Ugandan and Rwandan borders, he said.
The rebels must also stop "all unconstitutional activity", including setting up their own local governments and replacing the national flag with their own, he added.
The ministers have sent a report to Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, who will present it in September at the next summit of the ICGLR.© ANP/AFP