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U.S. Calls On Rwanda To Immediately Withdraw Its Defense Force Personnel, Surface-To-Air Missile Systems From DR Congo

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The US noted that the armed group was being sanctioned by its government and the United Nations

The United States has “strongly” condemned the worsening violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) caused by the actions of the Rwanda-backed M-23 armed group, including its recent incursions into the town of Sake.

The US noted that the armed group was being sanctioned by its government and the United Nations.

A statement by a US Department of State spokesperson, Matthew Miller, said the escalation in DR Congo has “increased the risk to millions of people already exposed to human rights abuses including displacement, deprivation, and attacks”.

It said, “We call on M23 to immediately cease hostilities and withdraw from its current positions around Sake and Goma and in accordance with the Luanda and Nairobi processes.

“The United States condemns Rwanda’s support for the M23 armed group and calls on Rwanda to immediately withdraw all Rwanda Defense Force personnel from the DRC and remove its surface-to-air missile systems, which threaten the lives of civilians, UN and other regional peacekeepers, humanitarian actors, and commercial flights in eastern DRC.

“It is essential that all states respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and hold accountable all actors for human rights abuses in the conflict in eastern DRC.

“We call on the government of the DRC to continue to support confidence building measures, including ceasing cooperation with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an armed group named as a “negative force” by regional bodies and the government of the DRC, and which exposes the civilian population to risk.

“We continue to support regional diplomatic efforts that promote de-escalation and create the conditions for lasting peace in DRC and we call on all sides to participate constructively in reaching a negotiated solution.”

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Prince Harry Loses Appeal To Overturn Ruling Downgrading His Security

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Prince Harry’s bid to appeal the downgrading of his personal security while visiting Britain has been denied by a court ruling on Monday. The youngest son of King Charles III took legal action after the British government informed him in 2020 that he would no longer receive the same level of publicly-funded protection during his UK visits.

In February, the High Court ruled that the UK government’s decision was lawful. High Court judge Peter Lane emphasized the legality of the “bespoke process” devised for Prince Harry by a committee under the jurisdiction of the interior ministry, stating it was “legally sound.”

Despite previous intentions to seek justice through the Court of Appeal, a judicial spokesperson announced on Monday that Prince Harry had lost his initial bid to appeal the decision.

The prince, also known as the Duke of Sussex, notably relocated to North America with his wife Meghan in 2020, eventually settling in California, and is no longer classified as a working royal.

Prince Harry had expressed security concerns preventing his return visits to Britain during a hearing at London’s High Court in December. He emphasized the importance of keeping his family safe, stating, “The UK is my home. The UK is central to the heritage of my children.”

While Prince Harry’s legal team argued that he was being treated unfairly and that proper risk analysis was not conducted, the government’s lawyers rejected claims of singling him out and emphasized the importance of public interest in decisions regarding taxpayer-funded protection.

The legal battle over Prince Harry’s personal security adds to the various lawsuits he has pursued in Britain in recent years, primarily concerning alleged phone hacking by newspapers. Earlier this month, he settled a longstanding legal claim against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) and is currently pursuing legal action against other media outlets.

The denial of Prince Harry’s appeal underscores the ongoing complexities surrounding his public life and the legal battles he continues to navigate.

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UN chief condemns Iran’s attack on Israel

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By Francesca Hangeior

The United N lations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has condemned the “large-scale attack” launched in Israel by Iran.

Guterres, in a statement, urged maximum restraint by all parties and warned that neither the region nor the world could afford another war.

According to the latest reports, Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles from its territory toward Israel, with most intercepted on Saturday.

Several missiles reportedly struck within Israeli territory, one of which damaged an Israeli military facility in the south of the country.

“I call for an immediate cessation of these hostilities,” he urged.

The UN chief said that he was deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation.

“I urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint to avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East.

“I have repeatedly stressed that neither the region nor the world can afford another war,’ he said.
Tensions have been ratcheting up in the region since Hamas’ deadly October 7 terror attack and mass hostage taking and Israel’s subsequent full-scale assault on the Gaza Strip, which has left thousands dead and pushed the population to the brink of starvation.

For his part, the President of the UN General Assembly, Dennis Francis, also expressed deep concern about the unfolding situation in the Middle East, “involving the launch by Iran of drones and missiles against Israel.”

In a separate statement, Francis noted that Iran had explained its action “in the context of article 51 of the UN Charter, following the recent Israeli attack on the Iranian Embassy in Damascus.

“The Iranian response compounds the already tense and delicate peace and security situation in the Middle East,” the Assembly President said.
He strongly called upon all parties to exercise the utmost restraint to avoid further escalation of tension in the region.

“This is a moment that calls for wise and prudent judgement, in which the risks and extended risks are very carefully considered.

“I expect that the Iranian authorities will honour their word that by their action today, the matter can be deemed concluded.”

Francis stressed that dialogue and diplomacy are the only way to resolve differences.

Francis warned: “A vicious cycle of attack and counterattack will lead to nowhere, but inevitably, to more death, suffering and misery.”

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‘We have specific targets’, Iran confirms hitting Israel

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By Francesca Hangeior

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) confirmed this in a statement issued on Saturday night.

Reports estimated the drones to be between 100 and 250, saying it will take hours to reach Israel.

“Iran launched UAVs from its territory towards the territory of the state of Israel,” military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a televised statement.

“We are following the threat in the airspace. It’s a threat that will take a number of hours to arrive in Israel.”

Jordan has vowed to bring down drones that penetrates its airspace.

But Iranian Defence Minister has warned that: “Any country that opens its airspace or territory to Israel for attacking Iran will face our decisive response.”

As tension escalated on Saturday, Israel shut down schools and placed its military on high alert.

Several international entities made adjustments to regular business amid the expected Iranian attacks.

Australia’s Qantas and Germany’s Lufthansa airlines on Saturday announced they would reroute flights in the Middle East, with the German airline saying it would avoid Iranian airspace altogether until Tuesday.

Canada on Saturday warned its citizens to avoid all travel to Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank, as Ottawa upgraded its risk assessment in the region.

The Netherlands announced it would keep its embassy in Tehran closed on Sunday, and would decide then whether or not to reopen on Monday.

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