In DR Congo: Government, opposition sign peace deal

Congolese President Joseph Kabila (C), seen in November 2016, will stay on until the "end of 2017," under the terms of a new political deal between the government and opposition parties

Under the terms of the deal, Kabila will stay until the "end of 2017" but a transition council will be established, headed by opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi.

The government and opposition parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo signed a deal Saturday to end a political crisis over President Joseph Kabila’s fate that has caused months of deadly unrest.

Under the terms of the deal, Kabila will stay until the "end of 2017" but a transition council will be established, headed by opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi.

In addition, a prime minister will be named from the opposition ranks.

The talks were launched by the Roman Catholic church to ward off violence as Kabila’s second and final mandate ended on December 20 with no sign of him stepping down and no election in sight.

The final deal was signed after 13 hours of negotiation on Saturday and only after several last-minute hitches nearly derailed an accord.

Punky

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