European Union urges Rwanda to stop supporting M23 rebels in DR Congo

© Glody Murhabazi, AFP

The European Union on Saturday urged Rwanda to stop supporting the M23 rebel group, which has captured swathes of territory in North Kivu province in neighbouring DR Congo.

The DRC -- along with the United States and several European countries -- has repeatedly accused its smaller central African neighbour Rwanda of backing the M23, although Kigali denies the charge.

The Tutsi rebel group has in recent months advanced to within a few dozen kilometres of provincial capital Goma.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Saturday that the European bloc had urged Rwanda to "stop supporting the M23 and use all means to press the M23 to comply with the decisions taken by the EAC (East African Community)" and at a November summit in Angola.

"It also firmly urges all states of the region to prevent the provision of any support to armed groups active in the DRC," said Borrell.

He called on Kinshasa to "take all measures necessary to protect the civilian population in its territory".

Under heavy international pressure to disarm, M23 joined a ceremony last week to deliver the strategic town of Kibumba to an East African military force as a "goodwill gesture" for peace.

The EAC also said the group had to withdraw to the border between the DRC, Uganda and Rwanda.


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