The Democratic Republic of Congo has asked the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Rwanda's defence minister and two top military officials for backing the M23 rebel group in the country's east.
M23 rebels, who have links to Bosco Ntaganda, a warlord wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges, have been fighting government soldiers in North Kivu province since April, displacing some 470,000 civilians.
Congo's Foreign Affairs Minister Raymond Tshibanda met with the members of the Security Council and the body's sanctions committee this week to discuss a report on the country's security issues by an UN expert panel.
"We believe that all the consequences must be drawn from the conclusions in the report of the group of experts and that sanctions should eventually be envisaged," Tshibanda told a news conference at the United Nations.
"We also believe, and this is what we have requested, is that these sanctions also relate to foreign personalities in addition to personalities in the Democratic Republic of Congo that are involved in this situation," he said.
Tshibanda said the foreigners named in the UN experts report should be targeted.
The report accused Rwanda's Defence Minister James Kaberebe; chief of defence staff Charles Kayonga; and General Jacques Nziza, a military adviser to President Paul Kagame, of being "in constant contact with M23."
Strengthen UN mandate
Kigali has repeatedly rejected the allegations and accused the UN report's authors of failing to verify their information or consult Rwandan authorities. Rwanda Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo also met with UN Security Council members and the sanctions committee this week to defend her country.
Major donors the United States, Britain, the Netherlands and Germany have all suspended some of their financial aid to Rwanda over its alleged backing of the rebels.
Rwanda has repeatedly backed armed movements in its eastern neighbor during the last two decades, citing a need to tackle Rwandan rebels operating out of Congo's eastern hills.
Tshibanda also echoed earlier calls by Congo's President Joseph Kabila for a new mandate for the country's UN peacekeeping mission that would include stamping out the armed groups that have destabilized the east for nearly two decades.
The UN mission, known as MONUSCO, has more than 17,000 troops, but the force is stretched thin across a nation the size of Western Europe and already struggles to fulfill its current mandate of protecting civilians.
"It is important that the mandate of MONUSCO be amended and be strengthened," the foreign affairs minister told reporters.