"I welcome efforts by the UN, AU and the EU to engage the parties in talks to stabilise the situation in the DRC. At today's meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Marseilles, we were briefed by the Foreign Ministers of France and the UK on their recent visit to the region. I together with my EU colleagues congratulate them on the initiative they have shown in trying to resolve the crisis in the DRC.
I am very concerned at the situation in North Kivu, which, notwithstanding the fragile ceasefire, remains volatile.
The escalation in violence last week significantly worsened an already grave humanitarian crisis. The people of the eastern DRC have suffered appallingly over many years. Even before this latest upsurge in violence there were already over 850,000 people displaced in North Kivu. It is estimated that a further quarter of a million people have now been added to this figure.
Over the past three years Ireland has allocated more than €31 million in humanitarian assistance to the DRC. In addition, in response to this worsening crisis, my colleague Minister of State Peter Power and I have agreed to set aside up to €1 million in extra funding for further emergency humanitarian relief in North Kivu.
I strongly urge the governments of DRC and Rwanda to engage in peace talks as a matter of the utmost urgency to bring stability to the region and enable much needed aid to reach those in need."