New York, US – Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region of Africa Mary Robinson has called for an immediate end to the fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), while urging all regional authorities to observe maximum restraint.
In a statement circulated at the UN headquarters in New York on Sunday, Ms. Robinson said: “I am deeply concerned by renewed armed clashes in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as attacks on civilians and United Nations peacekeepers based there.”
She added: “The attacks on the town of Goma as well as on MONUSCO (UN Stabilization Mission) forces, and their tragic consequences on the civilian populations already traumatized by two decades of conflict, are unacceptable. They must stop immediately.
“We must do everything to avoid an escalation of tension in the region, promote dialogue, and respect the letter and the spirit of the Addis Ababa Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.”
PANA recalled that the accord was signed earlier this year by the DRC as well as 10 other countries and four regional and international institutions, which now serves as a blueprint for peace and development in the region.
Over the past year, the M23, along with other armed groups, have clashed repeatedly with the national forces (FARDC) in the eastern DRC.
The rebels had briefly occupied Goma in November 2012.
The fighting resumed in recent weeks, this time dragging in a group of Ugandan-based rebels.
It has displaced more than 100,000 people, exacerbating the region’s ongoing humanitarian crisis, which includes 2.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 6.4 million in need of food and emergency aid.