, KINSHASA, Sept 2 – Mary Robinson, the UN special envoy to the African Great Lakes region, arrived in Kinshasa on Sunday, after warning against an escalation of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s volatile east.
Her visit, which will also take her to neighboring Uganda and Rwanda, follows new attacks on civilians in the country’s east, which has already suffered two decades of conflict.
The former Irish president was greeted on her arrival in the capital by Martin Kobler, head of the UN mission for stabilisation in the DRC (MONUSCO).
MONUSCO said on Sunday that she would travel to eastern city of Goma on Monday to meet representatives of “provincial authorities and civil society” such as trade unions and religious organisations.
Her programme shows that she will spend the week in the region, travelling to Uganda on Wednesday and the Rwandan capital Kigali on Friday.
The visit comes at the same time as the army and Monusco forces have begun an offensive and gained ground against the M23 rebels. The UN claims that the M23 group is funded by Uganda and Rwanda.
In November, the M23 rebels occupied Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu, but agreed to pull-out following intense international pressure.
Mary Robinson is responsible for trying to implement a framework agreement, signed in February, to bring about peace in North and South Kivu.