Rwandan President Paul Kagame and DRC President Felix Tshisekedi joined the leaders of Burundi, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda as well as Tanzania's ambassador to Nairobi to discuss the way forward after weeks of sabre-rattling.
The meeting comes as heavy fighting revives decades-old animosities between Kinshasa and Kigali, with the DRC blaming neighbouring Rwanda for the recent resurgence of the M23 militia.
Rwanda has repeatedly denied backing the rebels, while both countries have accused each other of carrying out cross-border shelling.
"The crisis in Congo need(s) a collective approach from all regional members of the East African Community," Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said on Twitter after the meeting got under way.
"We must insist on working together because these people have suffered a lot," said Museveni.
His government has sent in troops to help Congolese forces fight the Allied Democratic Forces, a militia group blamed for thousands of deaths in eastern Congo and a string of bombings in the Ugandan capital Kampala.