Rwanda: U.S. State Department Press Briefing: DR-Congo & Rwanda

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Excerpt from the United States Department of State daily press briefing:

QUESTION: Congo?

MS. NULAND: Please.

QUESTION: Given the deteriorating humanitarian situation, could you detail what the diplomacy has been?

MS. NULAND: Thank you for that. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson is currently in the region. He is joined there by his UK and his French counterparts. They have met with President Museveni. They are meeting with other regional leaders in an effort to promote a peaceful, sustainable resolution to the conflict. They're going to be going on later today. They were in Kinshasa today; they're going on to Kigali. And they will obviously also be in the DRC. They're going to meet with presidents in all countries and with other senior officials.

The goals remains the goal that we outlined last Tuesday or Wednesday.

We want to see a ceasefire. We want to see a pullback to July lines. We want to see a sustainable process of negotiation and discussion of the status of the eastern Congo with all the stakeholders - Museveni, Kagame, and Kabila - leading this process together along the lines of the joint communique that they issued on November 21st and the ICGLR's November 24th call for where to take this. So Assistant Secretary Carson out there working this very hard this week.

QUESTION: Are you in support of changing the mandate of the UN mission (inaudible)?

MS. NULAND: I don't think we're there yet. We're at the stage of trying to figure out among the regional leaders what it's going to take. But clearly, MONUSCO was not able to do what it was mandated to do. So I think among the things we need to understand better is how this relatively modest group of rebels was able to grab and hold territory, so - and what might be needed in terms of security and stabilization going forward.

QUESTION: So given that we give roughly $400 million to MONUSCO or one of the major supporters of the American taxpayer dollars, is there a concern that our - that the dollars that we're spending are not being used properly?

MS. NULAND: Well, certainly, there's a concern that we're going to need an effective security force there, that that may require adjustments to the way we're moving forward, but I just don't want to predict where we're going to go with this, but you're not wrong that we are a major supporter of MONUSCO and it needs to be able to be effective in securing populations, which is not currently the case.

Please.

QUESTION: Hi. I'm (inaudible). I'm here for Jo and Nicolas, Agence France Presse. Just on that issue, still on Congo, there's a perception among many people of Human Rights Watch, the UN experts, some diplomats I've spoken to privately, that the U.S. is dragging its feet about blaming Rwanda directly for supporting the M23. Do you think it's not the case or do you think it's not helpful to say it so publicly?

MS. NULAND: Again, we've been very clear that we do want to see all outside support for M23 for any of these groups come to an end. That's among the -

QUESTION: Where is that outside support coming from?

MS. NULAND: Again, that's among the issues that's being discussed in this diplomacy that we're conducting this week. So I'm going to let Assistant Secretary Carson take that forward, and then we'll go from there, and we'll have a better sense when he finishes.

QUESTION: Sorry. A quick follow-up on that, but Kagame didn't even go to the - Kagame wasn't even presence in the talks over the course of the weekend. I mean, are there specific conversations that you're having with Rwanda and Kagame to get Rwanda more engaged?

MS. NULAND: Yes. Assistant Secretary Carson will certainly see him, so that's part of the plan.

QUESTION: Didn't you take some step - public step against Rwanda in terms of arms sales a couple weeks or months ago?

MS. NULAND: Yeah, we did.

QUESTION: And has that been rescinded?

MS. NULAND: No. I mean, that's still -

QUESTION: So you have called the Rwandans out?

MS. NULAND: We had -

QUESTION: I mean, that was over M23.

MS. NULAND: -- suspended some of our support over M23 some time ago, yeah.

QUESTION: And that still exists?

MS. NULAND: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So are you saying that right now you don't want to call the Rwandans out? Because you have done it in the past publicly.

MS. NULAND: We have done it in the past.

QUESTION: Is there some reason not to do it right now?

MS. NULAND: There is no reason to do anything other than to call on anybody who might be funding any of these guys to stop doing it and to say that we are active now in the region seeing each of these leaders and trying to get them to work together.

QUESTION: Who else do you think is funding them, though - is funding M23? You said that we're calling on any outside groups. What other outside groups does the United States suspect of funding besides Rwanda?

MS. NULAND: There are many options for outside funding for this kind of stuff. That said, we have been clear about our concerns about neighboring states.

Let's - here please. Go ahead.

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