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The UN worries about a risk of “direct confrontation” between DRC and Rwanda

The UN worries about a risk of “direct confrontation” between DRC and Rwanda
Rwandan President Paul Kagame and DRC President Felix Tshisekedi pose for a photo ...   -  
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The UN expressed concern on Tuesday about a risk of “direct confrontation” between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, at loggerheads since the reappearance at the end of 2021 in eastern Congo of the M23 rebellion.

This risk was mentioned by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a recent report on the situation in the DRC and highlighted Tuesday by his special envoy to the region, Huang Xia, during a Security Council meeting devoted to the region. troubled Great Lakes.

“The risk of a direct confrontation between the DRC and Rwanda, who continue to accuse each other of supporting armed groups (...) is very real ,” declared Mr. Xia, noting that during the last six months , the situation, on the security or humanitarian levels, “has not improved at all, on the contrary”.

M23 rebels seized swathes of territory last year that they continue to occupy in North Kivu province . Kinshasa criticizes Kigali for its support for this predominantly Tutsi rebellion, Kigali in return accusing Kinshasa of collusion with the FDLR, an armed group of Rwandan Hutu origin.

After six months of precarious calm, fighting resumed at the beginning of October, notably involving militiamen presented as "patriots" fighting against the M23.

“The military reinforcement” of the DRC and Rwanda , “the absence of a direct high-level dialogue and the persistence of hate speech are all worrying signals that we cannot ignore ,” declared Huang Xia.

Representatives of Security Council member countries took turns calling for restraint, dialogue and a political solution.

At the end of the meeting, those from Rwanda and the DRC denounced one "the lack of political will" of Kinshasa, the other the "aggression" of Kigali, while reaffirming their wish to find "a solution peaceful . ”

The east of the DRC has been plagued for nearly 30 years by violence by numerous armed groups, many inherited from the regional conflicts of the 1990s-2000s.

Since 1999, the United Nations has had a force in the country (MONUSCO) still comprising some 14,000 soldiers, of which Kinshasa, which accuses them of inefficiency, is requesting their departure from next December.

In a statement Monday from its rotating presidency - held by Brazil in October - the Security Council said it was "ready to decide, by the end of 2023, the future of MONUSCO, its gradual withdrawal, responsible and sustainable and concrete and realistic measures to be taken as a priority to implement this withdrawal .

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