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US Presses Rwanda to End Support for M23 Rebels

The United States is calling on Rwanda to end its support of M23 rebels and withdraw its military personnel from war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, speaking Tuesday, linked Rwanda directly to the ongoing violence in the eastern DRC and said fighting has driven a new wave of refugees into border towns.

Psaki also urged the government in Kigali to follow through on its commitments to a peace and security cooperation framework signed by regional governments earlier this year.

The U.S. call comes two days before Secretary of State John Kerry chairs a special session of the United Nations Security Council aimed at bringing peace and stability to Africa's Great Lakes region.



The U.S. comments also follow a stinging Human Rights Watch report that documents a string of war crimes by M23 fighters, including summary executions, scores of rapes and the forcible recruitment of men and boys to fight in rebel units.

HRW researchers also collected numerous witness statements describing Rwanda's continuing support for M23, and they said arms, ammunition, fighters and recruits are still crossing the border.

There were no comments or reactions from M23 in the HRW report issued Monday.

An HRW spokeswoman said investigators had arranged to interview M23 leader Sultani Makenga about the findings. But she said fighting that broke out on the day of the interview forced its cancelation and that Makenga was not available for subsequent telephone queries.

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