October 25, 2013
The United States is deeply concerned by reports of renewed fighting between the M23 armed group and the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in eastern Congo, with reports of casualties and of hundreds of families forced to flee the area of the fighting. We are also troubled by reports that at least one round landed across the border in Rwanda. This fighting puts at risk the fragile peace negotiations in Kampala and risks undermining the concerted efforts earlier this week to reach a final agreement and peacefully resolve the conflict. We commend the actions of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) to protect civilians and urgently call on all parties to exercise restraint to prevent military escalation of the conflict.
We specifically call on the M23 to commit to peacefully resolving the conflict by promptly signing a final agreement that provides for the disarmament and demobilization of the armed group and accountability for those responsible for the most serious human rights abuses. We commend the good faith efforts of the DRC government to negotiate a principled agreement and continue to call on all signatories of the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework to support such an agreement and to end all support to armed groups.
We continue to believe that the best way forward for the Great Lakes region is to conclude the Kampala Talks in a manner that does not grant amnesty to the worst offenders and to utilize the Framework peace process to focus on the root causes of the crisis in the DRC, including through expanded dialogue among signatory states.