WASHINGTON | Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:06pm EDT
(Reuters) – The United States on Tuesday called on Rwanda to end support for M23 rebels in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, saying there was evidence Rwandan military officials were involved.
“We call upon Rwanda to immediately end any support for the M23 (and) withdraw military personnel from eastern DRC,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
She declined to say whether Rwandan President Paul Kagame was implicated. “I wasn’t speaking to Kagame himself,” she added.
The call comes two days before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry leads a special session of the United Nations Security Council on Africa’s Great Lakes region.
Psaki said the concerns followed a “credible body of evidence” in a recent report by Human Rights Watch that said M23 rebels in Congo were to blame for executions, rapes and forcible recruitment of men and boys while receiving support from Rwanda.
M23 began taking parts of eastern Congo early last year, accusing the government of failing to honor a 2009 peace deal.
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Doina Chiacu)