The United States welcomes the February 17 Communiqué of the 1140th meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) on the situation in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). We join the PSC in expressing concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation, condemning the human rights abuses committed by armed groups, particularly the M23, ISIS-DRC, CODECO, and FDLR, and demanding that all armed groups cease hostilities and unconditionally withdraw from the eastern DRC. We appreciate the leadership of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the PSC.
We are encouraged that the PSC underscored the importance of implementing the outcomes of the February 17 EAC mini-summit communiqué, the Luanda and Nairobi processes and the November 23 Luanda Communiqué; supporting the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism and the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO); and addressing the issue of ex-combatants and the voluntary return of internally displaced persons and refugees. We also take note of the PSC’s decision to use the African Union Peace Fund to support the deployment of the Eastern African Community Regional Force (EACRF).
We urge the swift implementation of the outcomes of the February 17 EAC Mini-Summit, the Luanda and Nairobi processes, especially the Communiqué of the Mini-Summit of Luanda of November 23, 2022. The path to peace is clear: we expect the leadership shown during these sessions in Addis Ababa to translate commitments into action. We reiterate our call on Rwanda to cease support for the M23 armed group and to withdraw its troops from the DRC to facilitate implementation of these commitments in accordance with the timeline endorsed at the February 17 EAC mini-summit. We also reiterate our call on all parties to condemn hate speech and urgently work to prevent ethnic violence.
On the margins of the African Union Summit February 18-19, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee met with João Manuel Lourenço, President of the Republic of Angola; Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the DRC; Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda; William Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya; and Jeje Odongo, Foreign Minister of Uganda. In each meeting, Assistant Secretary Phee discussed with regional leaders our shared commitment to achieve peace and stability in eastern DRC and the urgent need for revitalization of the peace processes. The United States will continue to support and advance African diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict in eastern DRC.