By Spy Uganda Correspondent
A UN diplomat expressed deep concern Thursday over a shooting incident targeting a Congolese fighter jet in the border area between Rwanda and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), calling on the two countries to hold talks to resolve the matter.
Huang Xia, the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region, called on both countries “to exercise maximum restraint and strive to defuse tensions through dialogue.”
Xia made the statement two days after the Rwandan military shot at a Congolese fighter jet, accusing the neighboring country of violating its airspace for the third time.
What the Rwandan authorities described as “defensive measures” were seen as “an act of war” by the DRC.
The Sukhoi-25 jet was attacked as it began landing at Goma International Airport without violating Rwandan airspace, according to Congolese authorities.
Regional instruments and the expanded verification mechanism of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region can help establish the facts of the incident and clear up any misunderstandings, according to Xia.
The two countries must “remain committed” and “respect the decisions taken at the mini-summit of heads of state on 23 November 2022 in Luanda,” the Angolan capital, the UN envoy said.
They must also ensure the full implementation of the Framework for Peace, Security and Cooperation for the DRC and the region signed on Feb. 24, 2013.
Relations between Rwanda and the DRC have been marked by tensions since the resurgence of the armed rebellion of the March 23 Movement (M23).
M23 rebels have taken over the province of North Kivu in the DRC, causing deadly violence and forcing people to flee on a daily basis.
The DRC and the international community accuse Rwanda of supporting these rebels.
The M23 accuses the Congolese government of organizing a genocide against Congolese Tutsis in the Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu Congolese regions.
Like Rwanda, it also accuses the Congolese army of being in alliance with Hutu rebels who have retreated to eastern DRC and are accused of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.