“Therefore the M23 must immediately stop this offensive and pull out of Goma,” said the presidents’ statement issued in Kampala. This resolution was to be immediately communicated to the M23 leadership, the statement said.
Kabila said he was willing to negotiate directly with the M23 rebels, a reversal from his previous refusal to talk with the rebels.
For his part, Kagame reiterated Rwanda’s denial that it is supporting the rebels, saying each government “must bear the burden” of its own internal problems, according to a diplomat close to the talks, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the emergency summit.
While the three presidents called on the M23 to give up the territory that they have seized, the rebels continued Wednesday on toward their next target: Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province on Lake Kivu.
“We are waiting for orders now. We don’t know what we are supposed to do. It’s hard. My comrades who defected in Goma, we’re going to fight them,” said a Congolese army major reached by phone in Kanyabayonga, northwest of Goma, where some of the troops have regrouped. The major required anonymity because of the uncertain situation.
The United Nations accuses the M23 of grave crimes including recruiting child soldiers, summary executions and rape, according to an experts report released Wednesday.
The United Nations peacekeepers, known by their acronym MONUSCO, did not help the Congo government forces during Tuesday’s battle because they do not have a mandate to engage the rebels, said Congolese military spokesman Olivier Hamuli, who expressed frustration over the lack of action by the peacekeepers.
A U.N. spokesman in New York said that the nearly 1,500 U.N. peacekeepers in Goma held their fire to avoid triggering a battle. The peacekeepers “cannot substitute for the efforts of national forces” in Congo, said spokesman Eduardo del Buey.
On Wednesday the Security Council was expected to review the mandate of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Congo. A resolution adopted Tuesday by the Security Council asks the U.N. secretary-general to recommend possible redeployment, and possible “additional force multipliers.”
The resolution approved unanimously by the council imposes targeted sanctions, including a travel ban and assets freeze on the M23 rebel group leadership. But it did not name two countries accused by Congo of supporting the rebels: Rwanda and Uganda.
The council demanded that the M23 rebels withdraw from Goma, disarm and disband, and insisted on the restoration of the crumbing Congolese government authority in the country’s turbulent east.
The resolution also calls for an immediate end to external support to the rebels and asks the U.N. secretary-general to report on the allegations of foreign support while expressing its readiness to take appropriate measures.View Entire Story
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