Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, witnessed the signing on Sunday at the African Union's headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The presidents of the DRC, Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia either attended or delegated the power to sign the deal.
According to the UN, the "peace framework agreement" could lead to the creation of a special UN intervention brigade in eastern DRC to combat rebel groups and renew political efforts.
But after almost two decades of war, expectations are low.
"I think it would be wrong to have too great expectations because the situation here is very difficult," Alex Queval, head of the UN mission in North Kivu, told Al Jazeera. "The conflict has been going on for at least 19 years, so it's not going to be solved overnight, but I definitely think that this approach can be a new beginning."
Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from the Mugunga camp for internally displaced persons outside Goma, said people there "really hope this [agreement] is the beginning of something."
Mugunga is host to tens of thousands of Congolese people who had to flee their homes following violence in the east in November 2012.
Despite the signing on Sunday, problems remain with the peace process, she said.
"We still dont know what kind of powers a special UN envoy would have [and] whether those signing will have a mechanism overseeing whether they will abide by what they signed up for," she said. - Full Read: Aljazeera
WEB Notes: "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." - Thessalonians 5:3
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