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Rwanda and the DRC Must Reject War

(FILE) Border between DRC and Rwanda
(FILE) Border between DRC and Rwanda

"Rwanda and the DRC must walk back from the brink of war," said Ambassador Wood. "Parties to the conflict and regional actors should immediately resume the Nairobi and Luanda processes."

Rwanda and the DRC Must Reject War
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The United States strongly condemns the worsening violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and calls for immediate actions to de-escalate tensions between the DRC and Rwanda. Fierce fighting has escalated in recent months between the DRC’s army and Rwandan-backed M23 rebels in the eastern DRC.

At an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, U.S. Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs Robert Wood said, “Millions of people are already exposed to a grave humanitarian crisis. The scale of displacement, human rights abuses, gender-based violence, and suffering is appalling.”

“The recent attacks by the U.N.-sanctioned, Rwanda-backed M23 armed group on Sake and near Goma are unacceptable,” he said. “M23 must immediately cease hostilities and withdraw from the area, as it committed to regional leaders that it would do. Rwanda must end its support to M23. It must also withdraw Rwandan forces from Congolese territory and immediately remove any and all of its surface-to-air missile systems, which credible reporting indicates have been responsible for intentionally firing on the aerial assets of MONUSCO [the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in the DRC].”

The United States has also consistently denounced the collaboration between elements of the Congolese armed forces and the U.N.- and U.S.-sanctioned Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, known as the FDLR, said Ambassador Wood.

“The DRC must immediately cease its support to, and coordination with, the FDLR. We condemn any group that espouses genocide ideology and recognize that the FDLR remains a significant security threat to Rwanda,” he said.

Rwanda and the DRC, said Ambassador Wood, “must renew their commitment to the confidence-building measures agreed in December, return to a ceasefire, and take swift, through and systematic steps to promote accountability for those responsible for human rights abuses.” The United States, he added, “is ready to provide intelligence and diplomatic resources to assist in the monitoring of any agreed pause in the fighting.”

Ambassador Wood emphasized that the United States firmly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the DRC and lasting peace for all Congolese people.

“Rwanda and the DRC must walk back from the brink of war,” he declared. “Parties to the conflict and regional actors should immediately resume the Nairobi and Luanda processes. These regional diplomatic efforts - not military conflict - are the only path toward a negotiated solution and sustainable peace.”