DRCongo rebels urged to halt advances

The United States on Wednesday renewed calls for rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to immediately withdraw from Goma and halt any plans to seize more territory.

By (AFP)

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Published: Thu 22 Nov 2012, 12:56 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 12:48 PM

The call came as DR Congo President Joseph Kabila and the leaders of neighboring Rwanda and Uganda insisted in a joint statement after talks that the rebels must leave the main city in the mineral-rich but impoverished east.

“Obviously we have supported that dialogue,” State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner told journalists.

“We have been very clear and vocal about our condemnation of M23 actions in the previous few days. We want to see them immediately withdraw from Goma and cease any further advances and permanently disband.”

He also reiterated that “we condemn any and all outside support of M23, any military assistance to the rebels in violation to the UN arms embargo.”

The UN Security Council on Wednesday held urgent new talks on the growing crisis in DR Congo as the United Nations finally published a widely-leaked report which said Rwanda has given heavy backing to the M23 rebels.

Rights activists on Wednesday called on Washington to publicly support bringing sanctions against those Rwandan officials accused of backing M23.

“The US government’s silence on Rwandan military support to the M23 rebels can no longer be justified given the overwhelming evidence of Rwanda’s role and the imminent threat to civilians around Goma,” said Tom Malinowski, Washington director at Human Rights Watch.

“The US government should support urgent sanctions against Rwandan officials who are backing M23 fighters responsible for serious abuses,” he added in a statement.

A resolution passed by the Security Council on Tuesday ordered UN leader Ban Ki-moon to produce a report within days on external backing to M23. It also called for wider sanctions against M23 leaders and condemned all external support for the rebels.

The United States co-sponsored the resolution and welcomed its unanimous approval even though its links with Rwanda has been criticized by rights groups.



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