News / Africa

US Calls on Rwanda to End M23 Support

M23 rebels sit in a vehicle as they withdraw from the eastern Congo town of Goma, Dec. 2012 file photo.
M23 rebels sit in a vehicle as they withdraw from the eastern Congo town of Goma, Dec. 2012 file photo.
The Obama administration wants Rwanda to stop backing Congolese rebels who are undermining efforts to end decades of violence in East Africa's Great Lakes region.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Tuesday said the country needs to cut off the Democratic Republic of Congo's M23 rebellion, whose fighting with government troops has driven a new wave of refugees into border towns.

The announcement comes two days before Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to chair a special session of the U.N. Security Council on the Great Lakes regional conflict.

"We call upon Rwanda to immediately end any support to the M23, withdraw military personnel from eastern DRC, and follow through on its commitments under the framework," she said, referring to a regional framework for ending the crisis that has been weakened by Rwanda's support for the rebels.

"M23's renewed fighting seriously undermines regional and international efforts to peacefully resolve the situation in eastern DRC."

Psaki also cited a Human Rights Watch investigation saying Rwanda has provided ammunition, food and training to the rebels while allowing M23 leaders to recruit inside Rwanda, including among demobilized Rwandan soldiers.

Psaki called findings of the report by the New York-based rights group, which were published Monday, "a very powerful case."

The United States has largely avoided publicly accusing Rwanda of backing M23 rebels, despite allegations by the United Nations and European allies. Washington did suspend military assistance to Kigali following a U.N. report last June that linked Rwandan defense officials to the group.

Tuesday's statement represents Washington’s first response to recent M23 clashes with the Congolese military near Goma, and that it did not directly implicate Rwandan President Paul Kagame, a U.S. ally.

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joined in a U.N. meeting on M23 at last year's General Assembly that diplomats have since described as highly critical of Rwanda's involvement.

In a written statement following that session, Rwanda's government denied the allegations, saying that resolving the crisis in Congo would be impossible "if the international community continues to define the issue erroneously."

The statement quoted Kagame as finding "perplexing" the degree to which the international community focuses on M23 at the expense of "much broader challenges." It warned that "singling out one group out of many is running away from the actual issue."

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by: Mulumba Paul
July 24, 2013 11:47 AM
OK,so The State Dept finally acknowledge publicly that Rwanda is involved in The Congo. For the record,the whole world except Kagame and his henchmen have known this for a long time now. So to The State Department, to Secretary Kerry in particular, what are you going to do about it? Your credibility is on the line. To the UN: what are you going to do about it since Rwanda sits in the Security Council? I suggest they be suspended from the Security Council and all aids from the US and their allies to Rwanda be suspended until there are third party credible evidences that Rwanda has stopped their meddling and human rights abuses in Congo.Otherwise, The State Department and the UN may not be looked upon seriously as they support an aggressor country.

In Response

by: Kadogi sam
July 25, 2013 11:01 AM
I think Congoleses have problems, instead of solving your own problems you are waiting for solution from Washington!! If you are sure that Rwanda has attacked your Country, it is your right to defend yourselves. Just attack rwanda. And you will show evidence.

In Response

by: oxenone@ymail.com
July 24, 2013 10:06 PM
Good points & questions you raise. I hope action is taken, The region has really suffered from this adventurism by regional war lords that are way too greedy. Rwanda and Uganda leader have war mentality and with them around there will be constant trouble. Action needs to be taken to have proper democracy in Rwanda, Uganda and DRC and UN must stop Rwanda & Uganda from send their militias-they call army, to interfere in DRC under flimsy excuses.


by: Kabongo from: Lincoln - Usa
July 23, 2013 9:22 PM
Anyone knows kagame's tactic. Like he said: ""singling out one group out of many is running away from the actual issue." He will end support to M23 but He will create and arm others rebels.
He did with RCD, CNDP, M23, Bosco Ntagada, Thomas Lubanga...

In Response

by: Oxen from: Mars
July 24, 2013 9:58 PM
Stern action needs to be taken on Rwanda and Uganda. If necessary to remove the regimes in the same way Tanzania helped remove Idi Amin when he attacked and plundered Kagera. The region is fed up with the mischievous character of these two regimes in Kigali and Kampala. SADC and UN can help to push for this. These regimes are entrenching themselves in home nations and extending their backward and manipulation across borders and that needs to be stopped by all means. The denials by Kampala and Kigali are totally meaningless the track record of the leader there speak for themselves. They lie all the time , just too greedy and have no ability to help progress i the region, but the just cause chaos constantly. US can help a lot here because these regimes play puppet, but US needs to shake off such dusty regimes that are pretty much of little. Good governance is better for all in the long run--not greedy autocrats that manipulate constitutions to stay in power.

In Response

by: kagabo from: USA
July 24, 2013 5:09 AM
Those Kinyarwanda-speaking people are Congolese by origin, expelling them from Congo would be impossible...better DRC negotiates with them and achieve peace permanently.

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