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UN to sanction DR Congo’s M23 rebels
The UN Security Council said Friday that it intends to impose sanctions on the leaders of the Democratic Republic of Congo's M23 rebels and others violating an arms embargo on the country, implying Rwanda and Uganda.
The UN Security Council said Friday it intends to sanction leaders of M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and implicitly threatened Rwanda and Uganda, accused of arming the movement.
In a confidential report seen this week by AFP, UN experts charged that Kigali and Kampala were arming and supporting the M23 rebels, whose members are former fighters in an ethnic Tutsi rebel movement theoretically integrated into the Congolese military under a 2009 peace deal.
They also accused Rwanda's defense minister, General James Kabarebe, of being the "de facto" commander of the rebellion in the eastern DR Congo.
In a statement, the council fully backed the UN experts, strongly condemned "any and all external support to the M23" and expressed concern at reports showing that such support continues to be provided to the M23 by neighboring countries -- an implicit reference to Rwanda and Uganda.
"The Security Council expresses its intention to apply targeted sanctions against the leadership of the M23 and those acting in violation of the sanctions regime and the arms embargo," it said.
"The Security Council demands that any and all outside support to the M23 as well as other armed groups cease immediately," the 15-nation council added.
The council asked all states in the region to condemn the M23 rebels, work with Congolese authorities to disarm the rebels and other armed groups, and cooperate with UN experts.
The experts' report is to be formally submitted to the Security Council next month.
The Security Council's strong stance comes one day after the UN General Assembly elected Rwanda as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. It begins its two-year mandate in January.
The M23 rebel fighters were incorporated into the DR Congo army in 2009 as part of a peace deal in the troubled, mineral-rich eastern region. They quit the army this year in a dispute over salaries and poor conditions.
In its statement Friday, the Security Council also asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to come up with proposals for reinforcing the ability of MONUSCO, the UN mission in the DR Congo, to "implement its mandate."