UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations (UN) Security Council on Friday renewed its call for the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels to withdraw from all occupied areas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and requested the disarmament of all armed groups.
In a press statement, the council members strongly condemned the recent series of attacks by the M23 in North Kivu province in the DRC and the advances of the rebel group.
They reiterated their demand for the immediate cessation of hostilities and of any further advances by the M23 and its withdrawal from all occupied areas as agreed through the African Union-endorsed Luanda process.
Last November, African leaders at a mini-summit in Luanda, Angola's capital, agreed on an immediate ceasefire in North Kivu, the immediate withdrawal of M23 from the occupied areas, and the disarmament and repatriation of foreign armed groups, among others.
In the statement, the 15-member council also strongly condemned the recent attacks by rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the Cooperative for the Development of Congo against civilians in DRC's Ituri and North Kivu provinces.
The eastern part of the DRC has been troubled for decades by multiple militia groups, in particular rebels of the ADF and the M23.
The council members demanded that all members of armed groups immediately and permanently disband, lay down their arms, reject violence, end and prevent violations perpetrated against women and children and release children from their ranks.
They also urged foreign armed groups to return to their countries of origin.
The council members "reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity" of the DRC, said the statement.