Today at 10 am EST, the United Nations Security Council will host a debate on the crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will preside over the meeting. The council will be briefed by World Bank head, Jim Young Kim, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, Mary Robinson.
The meeting is expected to produce a presidential statement and reinforce support for the February 24th peace framework. Many developments have taken place since the first meeting of the regional oversight mechanism for the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC in Addis Ababa on May 26th. During the meeting President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania called on Rwanda and Uganda to enter into dialogue with their rebel groups (mainly FDLR and ADF-NALU) inside the DRC. President Kikwete's call for dialogue drew the ire of Rwanda's President Paul Kagame. During President Obama's visit to Africa in June, while in Tanzania he said "The countries surrounding the Congo, they've got to make a commitment to stop funding armed groups that are encroaching on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Congo."
This week, in conjunction with a Human Rights Watch report documenting continued support for the M23 militia by the Rwanda government, the U.S. government again called for Rwanda to immediately cease its support of the M23 militia. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said "We call upon Rwanda to immediately end any support for the M23 (and) withdraw military personnel from eastern DRC."
The Obama Administration is getting pressure to take greater action against its long-standing ally, Rwanda. The Washington Post Editorial Board in its July 24th Editorial said the "U.S. needs to push for sanctions on Rwanda to help Congo."
U.S. law calls on the Obama Administration to hold its Rwandan ally accountable. Section 105 of Public Law 109-456, the law that President Obama sponsored as senator and co-sponsored by Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, authorizes the Secretary of State to withhold aid from Congo's neighbors, should they destabilize the country. The Obama Administration has yet to fully implement this law.
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