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Cindy Saine – voanews.com, December 11, 2012

"U.S. Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary, the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department, testified about how serious the situation is for residents of eastern Congo since M23 rebels rebelled against the government and took control of the eastern region in April.

Carson said five million people have died in inter-ethnic violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1997. Carson said there is a credible body of evidence from the United Nations and other sources that the Rwandan government is aiding the M23 rebels, and called on Rwanda to cease any such support.

Subcommittee chairman Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, said successive U.S. administrations have neglected to take a tough stand on Rwanda, due to U.S. regret about not stopping the genocide there in 1994.

"We must overcome our regret over what happened 18 years ago. As an NGO letter to President Obama points out, the United States is not out of step with our European allies, who have cut aid to Rwanda because of their interference in the DRC," Smith said.

Carson said that the U.S. government has to be patient and to continue to press the involved governments to see reason and to put an end to the violence. He stressed that the United States has taken action.

"We cut off our foreign military financing to the Rwandan government, one of the first such public acts by any government," Carsons said.

Analysts say they fear it will be hard to get a peace deal in talks scheduled between Congolese President Joseph Kabila and the M23 rebels, and that more civilians will die or be displaced."


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