Washington - The United States on Tuesday hailed the
surrender of rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo's powder keg east.
"The United States welcomes the announcement that M23
will end its rebellion," deputy State Department spokesperson Marie Harf
said, as she also commended "the DRC government's positive response"
and its willingness to sign a final agreement.
The M23 surrendered after a crushing United Nations-backed
offensive ended their 18-month insurgency in a region that has seen some of
Africa's deadliest conflicts.
"We encourage the parties to follow through on a
political process that leads to a final agreement that provides for disarming
and demobilizing M23 and ensures accountability for war crimes and crimes
against humanity," Harf said.
"Reaching a negotiated end to the rebellion is a
critical first step to ending the instability in the DRC."
A statement by the M23 that it would "end its
rebellion" and instead pursue its goals "through purely political
means" came after 200 or so holdout rebels were routed from their hilltop
The army launched a major offensive on 25 October, steadily
claiming the main rebel-held towns until diehard M23 fighters were forced to hole
up on three hills about 80km north of the regional capital Goma and near the
The insurgents - who at their strongest occupied Goma for 10
days a year ago - called for a truce on Sunday, but the army pressed on with
The UN special force in the region - which so far had been
assisting with aerial reconnaissance, intelligence and planning - joined direct
combat late on Monday after getting the green light to bombard the hilltops.
Washington also urged regional states to initiate "a
broader dialogue focused on implementing the Peace, Security and Cooperation
Framework Agreement, addressing the root causes of chronic instability in the DRC
and the Great Lakes, and expanding regional economic development", Harf
"The United States will continue to support these and
other regional and international efforts to reach a sustainable and durable
peace," she said.
The M23 was launched in April 2012 by ex-rebels who had been
integrated into the regular army after an earlier peace deal but mutinied
again, claiming that Kinshasa was failing to keep its side of the bargain.