US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Rwandan President Paul Kagame to halt support for armed groups in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including rebels who are accused of multiple rights violations, the State Department said on Monday.
Blinken emphasized during his Sunday call with Kagame that “any external support to non-state armed groups in the DRC must end, including Rwanda’s assistance to M23," State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
“Secretary Blinken also shared deep concern about the impact of the fighting on Congolese civilians who have been killed, injured and displaced from their homes,” added Price.
Blinken also condemned hate speech and public incitement against Rwandaphone communities – meaning the speakers of Kinyarwanda, including most ethic Tutsis – "recalling the real and horrible consequences of such rhetoric in the past," the statement added, likely referring to the 1994 genocide.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo accuses Rwanda of supporting the March 23 Movement (M23) rebel group, which some fear could capture Goma, the capital of North Kivu, Congo.
While Rwanda denies the allegations, political and diplomatic tensions between the two countries continue.
The M23 group has been implicated in a number of rights abuses, including the summary execution of civilians, the use of rape as a weapon of war, and recruiting child soldiers.
Source: Anadolu Agency