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Ban calls for action on Congo violence

  |   Sept. 28, 2012 at 1:41 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for "concrete options" to end the crisis in the Congo, where massive violence has displaced 300,000 people.

Ban's comment came during a meeting with presidents of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Zambia and representatives of the African Union, European Union and other organizations, the U.N. News Center reported.

"There is no military solution to this crisis," Ban said. "We must consider concrete options to bring about a peaceful resolution that is based on enhanced dialogue, deepening integration, and regional confidence-building."

Ban applauded "critical" efforts by the AU, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and the Southern African Development Community for a "deepening of the regional integration that, in the long-run will be the basis on which to prevent new crises from emerging."

The Congo's eastern provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu have had months of violence committed primarily by a group called M23, which has clashed with national army troops supported by peacekeeping forces from the United Nations.

Reports of murder, pillaging and mass rape in the country's eastern region have created an "alarming" humanitarian situation, Ban said.

More than 260,000 people have fled the region to escape the violence. About 60,000 have sought refuge in Rwanda and Uganda.

United Nations peacekeepers say they are considering a proposal to deploy a neutral international force along the Rwanda-Congo border.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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