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'End support for M23 rebels, pull troops out of DR Congo' France tells Rwanda

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, and Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda attend a joint press conference during their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, Ma   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

**Rwanda has been urged by France to end “all support” for M23 rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Paris made the call Tuesday on "Rwanda to cease all support for the M23 and to withdraw from Congolese territory". The Quai d'Orsay in communique said it was "very concerned by the situation in the East, particularly around Goma and Saké". **

The communiqué added that "attacks on the territorial integrity of the DRC are inadmissible" and that the "M23 must cease fighting immediately, and withdraw from all areas it occupies". 

France's statement came ahead of the United States warning about the situation. At a meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday evening, the US had warned Rwanda and the DRC that they "must walk back from the brink of war".

"The international community must take immediate steps to stop the fighting in the eastern DRC and de-escalate tensions between the DRC and Rwanda," said Robert Wood, Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the UN.

This follows the warning of last Saturday, when the US condemned the escalation of violence attributed to the M23 rebels. The State Department also called for the withdrawal of the Rwandan army and asked Kigali to "withdraw its surface-to-air missile systems, which threaten the lives of civilians, UN force soldiers and humanitarian workers".

Rwanda has rejected the call and accussations. A Rwanda foreign ministry statement said its troops are defending Rwandan territory as Congo carries out a "dramatic military build-up" near the border.

The ministry spoke of threats to Rwandan national security stemming from the presence in Congo of an armed group whose members include alleged perpetrators of the 1994 genocide in which more than 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus who tried to protect them were killed.

The rebel group, known by its initials FDLR, "is fully integrated into" the Congolese army, the statement said. Although Rwanda has long cited a threat posed by FLDR, authorities there had never admitted to a military presence in eastern Congo.

Congolese authorities accuse the central African country of actively supporting M23.

Congo's U.N. Ambassador Zenon Ngay Mukongo urged the Security Council to demand that Rwanda withdraw its troops from the country without pre-conditions, and halt all support for M23.

He accused Rwanda's army of illegally occupying part of the eastern province of North Kivu, and of providing support to M23 to destabilize Congo and "to pillage our riches, our wealth in ore and minerals" in the east.

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