The United States vehemently denounces the escalating violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), attributing it to the actions of the M23 armed group, backed by Rwanda forces.

America notes that actions by Rwanda and the rebels are subject to US and the United Nations sanctions.

The US says recent incursions by M23 into the town of Sake have exacerbated an already dire situation, exposing millions to increased risks of human rights abuses, displacement, and violent attacks.

“We urge M23 to immediately halt hostilities and withdraw from its current positions surrounding Sake and Goma, aligning with the stipulations of the Luanda and Nairobi processes. The United States expresses condemnation for Rwanda’s backing of the M23 armed group and calls for the prompt withdrawal of all Rwanda Defense Force personnel from the DRC,” said the US in a statement.

“Furthermore, we demand the removal of surface-to-air missile systems, which pose a grave threat to the lives of civilians, UN and regional peacekeepers, humanitarian workers, and commercial flights in the eastern DRC.”

Stressing the imperative for states to uphold mutual sovereignty and territorial integrity, the US says it will hold all parties accountable for human rights violations within the conflict in eastern DRC.

Directing attention to the government of the DRC, the US Department of State urges continued support for confidence-building measures, including the cessation of cooperation with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), identified as a “negative force” by regional bodies and the DRC government, thereby safeguarding the civilian population.

The United States says it remains committed to supporting regional diplomatic initiatives aimed at de-escalation and fostering conditions conducive to enduring peace in the DRC.

“We call upon all involved parties to engage constructively in achieving a negotiated solution, contributing to a sustainable resolution of the conflict,” says Washington.