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Belgium condemns the violence in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and in particular the attacks by the group M23 against the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) and against MONUSCO troops.
Once again, the civilian population is the first victim. The protection of civilians is an imperative in armed conflict and targeting civilians is against international law. Fighting is also a threat to the Virunga Park. Belgium salutes the determination of the eco-guards and the officials of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) who are working to protect it.
Belgium calls on all parties involved for an immediate cessation of hostilities and an urgent de-escalation. It supports the UN statements, calls for using existing dispute resolution and joint incident verification mechanisms and supports the Nairobi process. It also condemns any incitement to hatred targeting certain communities.
Belgium recalls its attachment to the territorial integrity of the DRC and remains involved, with regional actors and partners, in order to seek a political solution to the insecurity in the east of the DRC. Belgium will continue to support the FARDC and MONUSCO, including by training rapid reaction battalions.
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