UK Minister for Africa calls for international condemnation of support for militia groups in eastern DRC
LONDON, United-Kingdom, September 28, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds MP, attended the UN High Level Meeting on the Great Lakes yesterday. The meeting aimed to focus attention on the instability in the region, and encourage a consensus on the way forward. The meeting was chaired by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon.
Speaking shortly after the meeting, the Minister said:
“It is vital that the international community focuses on building a lasting peace in a region blighted by a cycle of conflict and violence. The M23 must immediately cease their activities, external support for the M23 militia must stop, and those who commit human rights abuses must be brought to justice.
"The current conflict has displaced over 300,000 people. The UK will continue its support to humanitarian efforts and I strongly urge others to do the same.
"I welcome leadership provided by regional countries, particularly the efforts of the International Conference on the Great Lakes (ICGLR), MONUSCO and other international partners towards resolving the current crisis. I encourage them to continue their work and to take necessary action to assure long term stability in eastern DRC. The international community must speak with one voice."
Note to Editors
1) In April, a new rebel movement, the M23 emerged in eastern DRC following a mutiny from the Congolese Army. The UN Group of Experts produced evidence that Rwanda was supporting M23 in a report, published in June. The United Kingdom believes the evidence to be credible.
2) The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) is a regional grouping which has taken the lead on efforts to resolve the current crisis in Eastern DRC. It has convened summit meetings which have agreed to: explore the establishment of a mediation process; expand a border monitoring mechanism; and establish a neutral force to tackle illegal armed groups in eastern DRC. The Ugandan President currently holds the Chair.
3) Over the next three years the United Kingdom will give an average of £30 million per year to DRC in humanitarian assistance. That assistance will be channelled through UN agencies, ICRC and NGOs.