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Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): the escalation of hostilities in the eastern part of the country

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The EU is extremely concerned by the escalation of violence in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the worsening of the humanitarian situation exposing millions of people to human rights abuses including displacement, deprivation, and gender based violence. The military build-up as well as the use of advanced ground to air missiles and drones is a worrying escalation that further endangers the situation, in particular around Sake and Goma.

The EU reaffirms its steadfast support to the Luanda and Nairobi processes. There is no military solution to this crisis, only a political one: this must be reached through an inclusive dialogue between DRC and Rwanda to address the root causes of conflict, aimed at implementing the decisions taken within the regional peace initiatives and ensuring the respect of the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of all the countries in the region. Existing roadmaps must be implemented; existing verification mechanisms must be reactivated.

The EU condemns the latest offensive by M23 and reiterates its strong condemnation of the actions by armed groups in eastern DRC. These groups must cease all hostilities, withdraw from the areas they occupy and disarm in accordance with the decisions taken within the Luanda and Nairobi processes.

The EU underscores the obligation for all States to stop any support to these armed groups. In particular the EU condemns Rwanda’s support for M23 and military presence on Congolese territory. It strongly urges Rwanda to immediately withdraw all its military personnel from the DRC as well as to terminate all support to and cooperation with M23. It strongly urges the DRC and all regional players to terminate all support to and cooperation with the FDLR, who have their roots in the genocide against the Tutsi, and any other armed group.

All parties must do their utmost to protect civilians, prevent violations of international law and ensure safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to all those in need immediately and without preconditions.

The EU reiterates in unequivocal terms its condemnation of hate speech and xenophobia, as well as ethnic-based politics. The EU urges all political and civil society actors to contribute to a peace-oriented dialogue and refrain from escalation. The EU calls upon all sides to refrain from confrontational and inflammatory rhetoric including threats of military escalation.

The EU remains committed to support peace, stabilisation and sustainable development of Eastern DRC and the region as a whole. This includes addressing all the root causes of insecurity and regional instability including poor governance and corruption, lack of inclusive institutions, entrenched impunity and abuse of power, and violent competition for access to and control of land and other natural resources as well as the use of illicit networks for the trafficking of natural resources.

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The EU condemns the recent attacks as well as the dis- and misinformation targeting some EU Embassies and MONUSCO. The EU underscores the legal responsibility of all states to protect the security of foreign citizens, as well as of the personnel and assets of diplomatic missions.

Picture Copyright: © UNHCR/John Wessels

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