* Non-essential U.N. staff to start leaving Goma on Tuesday
* France says M23 shows "disrespect" for Security Council
* France drafts council resolution proposing more sanctions
By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS, Nov 19 Ugandan President Yoweri
Museveni told U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon he had spoken to M23 rebels
in the Democratic Republic of Congo - a group his government is
accused of supporting - and called for calm, a U.N. peacekeeping
spokesman said on Monday.
Ban called Museveni on Sunday evening as the rebels advanced
to Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu province. U.N.
peacekeeping operations spokesman Kieran Dwyer said that
non-essential U.N. staff would start leaving the town on
A confidential report by U.N. experts, seen by Reuters last
month, said that Rwanda and Uganda - despite their strong
denials - were supporting M23 rebels in their eight-month fight
against Congolese government troops in the east of the
"President Museveni, in his capacity as Chairperson of the
International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR),
indicated (to Ban) that he had spoken to the M23 rebels and
called for calm," Dwyer said in a statement.
"The violence in and around Goma is hampering efforts to
provide humanitarian relief," he said. "UN staff will be
temporarily relocated from Goma. Troops will stay to protect
Ban spoke to Congo's foreign minister, Raymond Tshibanda,
and Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Saturday. Foreign ministers
from the Great Lakes regional body were due to meet on the
conflict on Tuesday in Kampala, Dwyer said.
In a report to the U.N. Security Council, dated Nov. 14 but
released on Monday, Ban said he was disturbed by continued
external support for M23 and called on "all those responsible to
immediately and permanently end this destabilizing assistance."
"The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Democratic
Republic of the Congo is inviolable and must be fully respected
by all neighboring countries," Ban said. "Constructive dialogue
and engagement between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and
its neighbors, especially Rwanda, is vital."
The U.N. Security Council issued a unanimous statement on
Saturday that condemned the M23 attacks, demanded an end to "all
outside support and supply of equipment to the M23" called on
M23 to halt "any further advances towards the city of Goma."
But French U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said on Monday that
M23 had shown "total disrespect" for the council and that he
would later on Monday circulate a draft resolution among the 15
members proposing further sanctions on M23 leaders and again
calling for an end to outside support for rebellion.
"Refugees have fled, the situation is very dire, the M23 has
total disrespect for what the Security Council has said," said
Araud, adding that he hoped the resolution would be adopted this
Oxfam's humanitarian coordinator Tariq Riebl said more than
50,000 people had fled camps and homes in Goma and on the
outskirts of the town and were in desperate need of shelter,
water and food.
"If fighting intensifies further, there are very few places
people can go for safety. With almost 2.5 million people now
displaced across eastern Congo, this catastrophe requires a
concerted humanitarian and diplomatic response," Riebl said.