KAMPALA, Oct 20 – Uganda will contradict UN accusations that it supports the M23 rebel group in Democratic Republic of Congo, and does not fear threatened sanctions, Kampala’s acting foreign minister said on Saturday.
The UN Security Council said on Friday it intends to sanction leaders of M23 and implicitly threatened Rwanda and Uganda, accused in a recent UN report of arming the movement.
“We are in the process of preparing a formal response to the allegations” made in the United Nations report, Henry Okello Oryem told AFP.
“We shall respond word by word and statement by statement”, he added. “Threats of sanctions talked about is mere talk and we are undeterred by them because the truth will come out.”
He described the UN accusations and the threat of sanctions as “another manipulation by individuals in the UN … who are trying to fail the regional efforts on DRC.”
Kampala is chairing regional efforts by leaders of the Great Lakes region to try to end the chronic violence in eastern DRCongo and to deploy a neutral force there.
When asked if Uganda still has the moral authority to lead the regional initiative, Oryem said: “Put that question to the DRC government.
“Ask them: since the report of the so-called UN group of experts came out accusing us of supporting rebels, does DRC believe Uganda has the moral authority to chair the regional initiative?”
UN investigators accuse both Rwanda and Uganda, which border eastern DR Congo, of arming and supporting the M23 rebels, in a confidential report seen by AFP.
Rwanda has repeatedly denied accusations that it backs the fighters.
The M23 rebel force is made up of former fighters in the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), an ethnic Tutsi rebel movement.
The group emerged after an unsuccessful attempt to integrate CNDP fighters into the Congolese army under a 2009 peace deal.