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DRC Warned To Stop Cooperation With Armed Groups

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Robert Wood, the Deputy US ambassador to the UN, has cautioned the Democratic Republic of Congo to stop its cooperation with various armed groups operating in the Eastern part of the country.

He made the remarks on Wednesday while commenting on the sharp deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

For example Kigali has repeatedly accused the Kinshasa government of working closely with and providing cover to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) designated by Washington as a terrorist group.

President Kagame said in February that the DRC government has armed the FDLR with modern weapons, “The FDLR shelled Rwandan territory with BM-21s (self-propelled multiple rocket launchers), which they could only get from the (DRC) government,” Kagame said.

“The Congo government not only arms the FDLR, they work closely together, although sometimes FDLR operates independently”, President Kagame said.

The US diplomat said that Washington has requested the Congolese government for a confidential report on arms and ammunition management efforts following the easing of sanctions by the Council in December last year.

According to envoy Robert Wood, this report will provide valuable information on the capacities of the DRC government and will allow the international community to contribute to the prevention of trafficking and diversion of small arms.

Established in 2008 to prevent the diversion of weapons through armed groups, the notification system was completely lifted on December 20 last year.

A resolution decreeing an arms embargo in the DRC was adopted in 2000. In 2008, the Security Council decided to apply this embargo exclusively to armed groups, while government suppliers were subject to a notification regime to the UN Monitoring Committee.

A new resolution adopted last July extended this regime for a year, reducing the notification requirement to only 5 types of weapons, including mortars, grenade launchers, man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) missile systems and anti-tank guided missiles.

“By adopting this resolution, the United Nations is alerting us to the urgency of improving the national system for controlling the circulation of arms in the country”, explained a UN official.

However,the Congolese government described this decision of the Security Council as an unacceptable injustice.

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