26 August 2013

Congo-Kinshasa: United States - 'We Support the UN Mission in DR Congo'

Photo: Radio Okapi/ Ph. John Bompengo
Congolese soldiers

The United States says it has confidence in the UN as fighting rages in eastern DRC. The UN on Monday (26.08.2013) called for a probe into the deaths of two protestors allegedly shot by UN peace keepers over the weekend.

Congolese forces backed by the UN peace keeping force MONUSCO are battling M23 rebels in Goma, eastern DR Congo. The clashes have reportedly claimed more than 80 lives since Sunday (25.08.2013) including two residents who were taking part in a demonstration.

DW spoke to William Stevens public affairs officer at the Bureau for African Affairs, US Department of State.

How concerned is the State Department by the fighting in the eastern DRC?

The United States is deeply concerned by the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the DRC. Over the weekend we released a statement condemning the actions of the M23 which have resulted in both civilian casualties as well as attacks on the UN peace keeping mission MONUSCO and significant population displacement. We have called on the M23 to immediately end hostilities, lay down their arms and disband in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

Is the United States contemplating further sanctions against M23?

We are fully behind MONUSCO, we reiterate our support for them and the intervention brigade and its mission, efforts to protect civilians in and around Goma.

How much confidence does the United States have in this new intervention brigade?

We are confident in both their mission and we support Martin Kobler's (head of UN mission in Congo) robust posture in defending the city and supporting the fastest response to these latest attacks by M23 rebels.

MONUSCO's new brigade has a more robust mandate than previous missions, will this suffice to bring stability to the area?

Well we support the efforts and we are certainly hopeful that it will have an impact.

How convinced is the United States that Rwanda is supporting M23 rebels?

One thing I will say is we will continue to reiterate our call for Rwanda to cease any and all support for the M23 and to respect DR Congo's territorial integrity. This is in line with UN Security Council resolutions and its commitment under the peace security and cooperation framework.

William Stevens is the Public Affairs Officer at the Bureau for African Affairs, US Department of State.

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