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370 words - August 28, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
According to the United Nations Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO), populated areas and UN positions "were directly targeted by mortars and hit by indiscriminate fire" on the occasion of new clashes between the national forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and the M23 armed group. Consequently the head of the MONUSCO, Martin Kobler, ordered peacekeepers to take "necessary action to protect civilians and prevent armed groups from advancing in the North Kivu province" in response to renewed fighting in the region.
The United States, of which a Senatorial delegation visited Rwanda this week, has been "alarmed by the escalating fighting" and has been also "concerned by reports of shelling across the Rwandan border" apparently by M23 elements. Deputy Spokesperson with the US Department of State Marie Harf called on "the DRC and Rwandan governments to exercise restraint to prevent military escalation of the conflict or any action that puts civilians at risk," and reiterated her government's "call for Rwanda to cease any and all support to the M23 and to respect DRC's territorial integrity."
Rwanda rejected the accusations and Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi challenged the participants of the 36th Ministerial Meeting of United Nations Consultative Committee on security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC) to diagnose the root causes of conflicts in central Africa region in order to find appropriate solutions. "Proliferation of small arms undermines the ability of our region to ensure good governance and safe environment conducive to our development. Our sub region should take measures to eradicate the circulation of arms and stop trans-boundary criminal acts," Mr. Habumuremyi said.
His colleague and Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo held similar views, telling her "hope for in-depth analysis for the issue of conflicts in the region, beyond the classic processes that used to be limited to only addressing effects or consequences rather than addressing the root causes." On August 23, a Tripartite Summit in Luanda between South Africa, the DRC and Angola reaffirmed the "Framework-Agreement, signed by the DRC, Rwanda and neighboring countries on February 24 in Addis Ababa, as the most important and realistic initiative for a peaceful settlement of the crisis and conflict in the Eastern DRC."
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