The United States "condemns"
the reported military offensives launched in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo (DROC) by the RCD-Goma rebel group and Rwandan forces, and in
the Katanga province by Congolese government troops, and calls on these
parties to "halt these operations immediately."
A written statement released March 24 by State Department Spokesman James Rubin said that if these operations are not halted, "the U.S. believes it will be impossible to deploy U.N. (MONUC) Phase II peacekeepers."
Following is the text of Rubin's statement:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
March 24, 2000
STATEMENT BY JAMES P. RUBIN, SPOKESMAN
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO : U.S. CONDEMNS CEASE-FIRE VIOLATIONS
The United States is extremely concerned over the continuing reports of intense fighting in violation of the cease-fire in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We condemn all parties that conduct military operations, rearm their forces, or redeploy their troops in violation of the Lusaka Agreement. We hold accountable all parties that violate the Lusaka Agreement and undo or hinder the fragile peace process. In this regard, we condemn the reported military offensives launched in the Kasai provinces by the rebel group RCD-Goma and the Rwandan forces, and in the Katanga province by Congolese Government troops. We call on these parties to halt these operations immediately. If they do not, the U.S. believes it will be impossible to deploy U.N. (MONUC) Phase II peacekeepers.
The United States reiterates its support for the Lusaka Agreement. We fully support the efforts of the U.N. Secretary-General's Special Representative, Kamel Morjane, the Joint Military Commission, the U.N. peacekeeping mission (MONUC), and the work of Sir Ketumile Masire, facilitator of the National Dialogue. There is no valid excuse for any party to obstruct or hinder these individuals and organizations as they seek to do their work to further the peace process. We call upon all parties to abide by the terms of the Lusaka Agreement and support the work of the institutions mandated by the Agreement.
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: usinfo.state.gov)