Representatives of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda met in New York in United Nations-chaired talks to review progress in dealing with armed groups.
The Central African neighbours signed the Joint Nairobi Communiqué, under which the two nations agreed to work together against threats to peace and stability in the region.
The Friday meeting of the Joint Monitoring Group’s Special Envoys was led by Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Alan Doss, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the DRC.
During the discussions, the Congolese delegation said that it intends to invite leaders of the ex-Rwandan Armed Forces (ex-FAR)/Interahamwe to Kisangani early next month.
At those upcoming talks, the DRC said that it will impress upon them that they must either seize the opportunity to disarm and repatriate voluntarily or else face the consequences of a refusal, including military operations and sanctions, as laid out in a Security Council resolution adopted last month.
That resolution called on all members of ex-FAR/Interahamwe, Forces Démocratiques de la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) and other Rwandan armed groups operating in the eastern DRC to surrender immediately to Congolese authorities and the United Nations peacekeeping mission known as MONUC.
The 15-member body also said these groups must “immediately stop recruiting and using children, release all children associated with them, and put an end to gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse,” adding that those responsible need to be brought to justice.
The next meeting of the Joint Monitoring Group’s Special Envoys will take place in Kigali, attendees of Friday’s talks decided.