Leaders in four countries neighboring the conflict-riddled Congo have called for rebels in the eastern part of the country to cease their attacks against the government and relinquish captured territory.
At a summit with Congo President Joseph Kabila, the presidents of Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya, as well as the foreign minister of Rwanda, called for the M23 rebel group to "stop all war activities and withdraw from Goma," a city it took over Nov. 20, and to "stop talk of overthrowing an elected government,” BBC News reported.
The leaders, meeting in Kampala, Uganda, also called upon the Congo government to listen to the rebels’ grievances in a bid to end the uprising that began in April.
M23 leader Jean-Marie Runiga was also present at the summit. While rebels have rejected calls to leave Goma, they have expressed a willingness to hold talks with the government.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has called attention to the humanitarian crisis in the region where more than 500,000 people have been displaced at the same time food and medicine are in short supply.
The U.N. has previously accused the governments of Rwanda and Uganda of backing the rebels. Both have denied such sponsorship.
The mineral-rich region in Congo's eastern reaches has been the site of a number of conflicts during the past two decades.