|[Published: Wednesday September 26 2012]
Clinton presses Rwanda, DRC leaders on border crisis
New York, 26 Sep - (ANA) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pressed the presidents of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to resolve a conflict over rebels in eastern Congo whose military advances have stoked tensions in one of Africa's most volatile regions. Clinton sat down with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Congolese President Joseph Kabila in New York on Monday, delivering a firm message to both that steps must be taken to resolve the crisis, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.
Clinton's first joint session with the two feuding African leaders was aimed at underscoring U.S. concern over the M23 rebel group, which the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the United States and U.N. experts have all said are receiving support from neighboring Rwanda. Clinton's meeting also follows a U.S. decision in July to withdraw some $200,000 in military aid for Rwanda, Washington's first direct punitive action against the Rwandans. Several other western European nations have also cut or suspended aid. Rwanda has denied having any link to eastern Congolese rebels, including the M23 group, who have been fighting Congolese government soldiers in North Kivu province since April, displacing some 470,000 civilians. A senior U.N. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that faith and trust need to be established between Rwanda and Kabila. He said Kabila had described his confidence in Rwanda as "zero." While Rwanda has denied any involvement in eastern DRC, the official said that privately: "They are a bit embarrassed, to say the least, and this could be one of the reasons behind the lull (in fighting) in the Kivu." He said that if Rwanda withdrew support for M23 then the group "could be subdued." (ANA)
FA/ANA/26 September 2012------------