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US government supports talks to end violence in DRCongo

The United States will support Kenya and Angola's efforts to end violence in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRCongo) and help resolve the Central African nation's crisis with Rwanda, the US government said on Tuesday.

: Getty Images
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The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, was in the capital of the DRCongo, Kinshasa, this Tuesday, following a trip to the region with stops in three African countries, where he met with the President, Félix Tshisekedi, among other authorities from the government.

"We want this violence in eastern Congo to end. We ask the M23 [March 23 Movement] and all other armed groups to cease their actions, lay down their weapons and enter the framework of the negotiation process", said Blinken.

In DRCongo for two days, the US Secretary of State hopes to encourage solutions to the violence in the east of the country, where attacks increased dramatically in July, with the resurgence of the M23 rebel group and the ongoing violence of many militias vying for control of the mineral-rich region.

More than 40 people died over the weekend in Ituri province, in actions by two other rebel groups.

"We are very concerned about credible reports that Rwanda has provided support to the M23. We call on all parts of the region to discontinue any support or cooperation with the M23 or, for that matter, any other non-state armed group," he said during a joint press conference with Congolese Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula.

Kinshasa accuses Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels, although Kigali rejects the findings of a United Nations expert report, which presents "solid evidence" that members of the Rwandan Armed Forces are carrying out operations in eastern DR Congo in support of the rebel group M23.

Rwanda blames DRCongo for collaborating with another rebel group, the FDLR, arguing that security in the region cannot be achieved until this issue is addressed.

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda is an armed group founded in DRCongo by former dignitaries of the Rwandan genocidal regime on the run.

The M23 is a former Tutsi-dominated rebellion, defeated in 2013, which returned to military action at the end of last year, accusing Kinshasa of not respecting the demobilization and reintegration agreements of its fighters.

Violence in eastern DRCongo has killed dozens of people and displaced tens of thousands, aggravating the country's already existing humanitarian crisis.

Antony Blinken will be in Rwanda this Wednesday for a meeting with the President, Paul Kagame, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

"The United States is doing everything possible to support the important African-led mediation efforts, in particular the processes being led by Kenya and Angola, to bring peace, security and stability to eastern DRCongo. We're not just following closely and carefully, we're involved", stressed.

The President, João Lourenço, received in May a mandate from the African Union to mediate the crisis between the two countries.


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