World Bulletin/News Desk
The U.N. Security Council intends to impose sanctions on the leaders of the Democratic Republic of Congo's M23 rebels and others violating an arms embargo on the country, according to a statement the council unanimously adopted on Friday.
Rwandan Defense Minister James Kabarebe is commanding the insurgency in eastern Congo that is being armed by Rwanda and Uganda, both of which also sent troops to aid deadly attacks, according to a U.N. experts' confidential report seen by Reuters on Tuesday.
"The Security Council expresses its intention to apply targeted sanctions against the leadership of the M23 and those acting in violation of the sanctions regime and the arms embargo," the 15-member council said in the statement obtained by Reuters.
The council strongly condemned any external support to the M23 rebels, expressed "deep concern at reports indicating that such support continues to be provided to the M23 by neighboring countries" and demanded that it stop immediately.
The Security Council's Group of Experts said in its report that Rwanda and Uganda - despite their strong denials - continued to support M23 rebels in their six-month fight against Congolese government troops.
The Security Council statement on Friday stressed "the urgency of constructive engagement and dialogue between the DRC and its neighbors, especially Rwanda, and the need to address the underlying causes of the conflict in eastern DRC."
The Congolese government on Wednesday demanded targeted sanctions against Rwandan and Ugandan officials named in the U.N. experts' report.
Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo on Thursday dismissed the idea that action should be taken on the basis of a report that she called flawed and untrue. She said the priority was to work out how to pacify the region.
"It's wrong. This report is very problematic so anybody who would want to take action based on that report would be really unfortunate," Mushikiwabo told Reuters in an interview.
Bosco Ntaganda, a former Congolese general wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, controls the rebellion on the ground, and M23 leader Sultani Makenga is in charge of operations and coordination with allied armed groups, the U.N. report said.
Ntaganda and Makenga "receive direct military orders from RDF (Rwandan army) Chief of Defense staff General Charles Kayonga, who in turn acts on instructions from Minister of Defense General James Kabarebe," it said.
Uganda and Rwanda have denied the accusations of involvement by the U.N. experts, who monitor compliance with sanctions and an arms embargo on the Congo.
They delivered their report to the Security Council's Congo sanctions committee earlier this month.
Nearly half a million people have been displaced due to the fighting. M23 has proven so resilient that one senior U.N. diplomatic source told Reuters that Rwanda has effectively "annexed" mineral-rich eastern Congo thanks to the rebel force.
"The Security Council also condemns the attempts by the M23 to establish a parallel administration and to undermine State authority," it said in Friday's statement.
Rwanda has backed armed movements in the Congo during the past two decades, citing a need to tackle Rwandan rebels operating out of Congo's eastern hills.
The latest rebellion also is being funded by traders in Rwanda who are profiting from tin, tungsten and tantalum smuggled across the border from mines in the eastern DRC, according to the U.N. experts' report.
The accusations have prompted the United States, Sweden and the Netherlands to suspend some aid to Rwanda, which relies on donors for about 40 percent of its budget. Last month the European Union froze further budgetary support to Rwanda.
Mushikiwabo said it was "the biggest mistake" for any countries to withdraw aid over the U.N. report.
King Abdullah criticised international inaction over Israel's offensive in Gaza, which he described as involving mass slaughter and "war crimes against humanity"
Israel has been pounding the Gaza Strip for almost four weeks, which killed at least 1458 Palestinians, almost a third of which are said to be children.
In May, US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Snowden to "man up" and return to the US to face charges.
The official People's Daily said on its microblog that the incident happened in Hotan in Xinjiang's far south, when more than 30,000 civilians involved in a counter-terror operation
Women face two problems: the lack of identity cards and an edict from elders of their Pashtun tribes forbidding them from going out to get aid
Navalny and other prominent opposition figures have ridiculed the case as politically motivated.
Prykhodko was suspected of taking part in a scheme with several others under which about 2 billion hryvnia ($172 million) was taken from the state agriculture fund
Lutfur Rahman, the Mayor of the London borough of Tower Hamlets, said “We are flying the Palestinian flag over the town hall as a humanitarian gesture of our solidarity with the people of Gaza.”
The quake had struck nine miles (14 km) southeast of Algiers and its epicentre was recorded at a relatively shallow depth of 6.2 miles
The poll research, published 47 days before the Sept. 18 vote showed that the independence movement has been largely stuck in the 42-44 percent support range
Russia is boosting its defence budget and aims to spend 21 trillion roubles ($586 billion) by the end of the decade to upgrade weapons and technology
Country's one-time largest rebel group and government begin new round of talks to settle key differences to push for passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law.
The move is the latest gesture by the country's reformist government towards abolishing the use of children in the armed forces.
Hoshiyar Zebari's comments are likely to further strain ties between Maliki's Shi'ite-led government and the Kurds, complicating efforts to form a power-sharing government
The number of confirmed deaths was 52, both officials said, after mud came crashing down on the village of Malin in India's western state of Maharashtra
Two Egyptians were killed on Thursday when Libyan guards opened fire to disperse them as they tried to leave.