Fighting has raged for months in North Kivu between government soldiers, local Mai Mai fighters and Tutsis loyal to Laurent Nkunda, a renegade general.
 
More than 400,000 civilians in North Kivu have fled their homes to escape the violence.

Terms of deal

An immediate permanent ceasefire would be established between the government, the Mai Mai and Nkunda as part of the deal, diplomats and observers at the talks said.

Nkunda's fighters would pull back from positions in North Kivu, many of which they have held since a government offensive to dislodge them failed in December.

If Nkunda's fighters leave their positions, it would create space for a buffer zone to be patrolled by peacekeepers from the United Nations.

A technical commission would then supervise the disarmament of fighters loyal to Nkunda as well as those from the Mai Mai, paving the way for them to be integrated into the national army or be stood down.

The government would, in turn, promise to create a law granting amnesty to the Mai Mai and Nkunda's fighters covering "insurgency and acts of war".

The conflict in North Kivu has its roots in neighbouring Rwanda's 1994 genocide and came after the official end of a broader 1998-2003 war and accompanying humanitarian catastrophe.

An estimated four million people have died as a result of a decade of conflict, mainly through hunger and disease.