U.N. Secretary-General Ban expresses concern over conflict in Congo

A Spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement on Saturday expressing Ban's concern regarding escalating violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the escalating violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo," the spokesperson said. "He condemns in particular the indiscriminate shelling by the 23 March Movement that caused deaths, injuries and damage among the civilian population in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and in the immediate border area in Rwanda, as well as among United Nations peacekeepers."

The Secretary-General asked that all other organizations concerned for the safety of the people near the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo pursue a solution aimed at the root causes of the conflict, which is political.

"The Secretary-General calls on all regional actors concerned to exercise utmost restraint and refrain from any acts or statements that could lead to a further deterioration of the situation," the spokesperson said. "He also calls on all Member States with influence in the region to assist in easing tensions."

The Secretary-General has assigned his Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region and his Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo to find diplomatic ways to help resolve the conflict. Ban affirmed the U.N.'s commitment to do all it can to help protect civilians affected by the conflict. Ban said those in violation of international law must be held responsible for their crimes.