After nearly two decades in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Nations stabilisation mission in Congo (MONUSCO) has signed a deal to withdraw its 15,000 peacekeepers.
The Congolese foreign minister Christophe Lutundula and MONUSCO's head signed the agreements on Tuesday.
Speaking on national television, Lutundula said the deal marked the end of a collaboration "which has proved its limits in a context of permanent war, without the longed for peace being restored to eastern Congo."
Violence in eastern Congo
Eastern Congo is in the grip of a decades-long conflict fought by dozens of armed groups, some backed by DRC's neighbours.
With presidential and parliamentary elections coming up on December 20, the conflict has taken centre stage.
In September, incumbent President Félix Tshisekedi called for an accelerated withdrawal of the UN peacekeepers.
The UN mission in the region has often caused tensions amongst the local population, with protests against MONUSCO and others at times turning deadly.
At the end of August, a crackdown by Congolese troops on anti-UN demonstrations resulted in nearly 50 deaths.
With the Congolese frustrated at what they feel to be a lack of protection from the rebel groups, the Congolese government last month also directed the East African regional force to leave the country by December.
The force, composed of troops from Burundi, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda, has been deployed in the area since late 2022 to help end the fighting. The government alleges a "lack of satisfactory results on the ground".
The withdrawal of MONUSCO's forces was not given a firm timeline in Tuesday's announcement, with observers saying that any acceleration is unlikely before the end of the current election cycle.